Despite moving into the Tour de France green jersey after placing second on yesterday’s stage, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) is still suffering from the after-effects of a crash during stage one.
“I did my sprint and I’m happy to have the green jersey, but I don’t feel very good after the crash in the first day,” Sagan said after stage three. “I just hope that day by day that I start to feel better because I need to recover after the crash.”
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The 23-year-old Slovakian fell hard near five kilometres remaining in the stage to Bastia. He was one of several victims, including Tony Martin (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Geraint Thomas (Sky), and hit his left shoulder, and both knees.
With the crashes and Corsica’s technical parcours, neither Sagan nor Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) has won a stage yet. Sagan, however, gained a healthy lead in the points classification.
He leaves Corsica with 74 points. Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) is in second place with 57, André Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) 13th with 30, and Cavendish in 16th with 25 points.
In the last two days, Sagan leaped ahead by taking two second places while his rivals finished out of the top 15 and out of the points.
“It’s still the first days, so he’ll end up having his chance,” Cannondale team trainer Paolo Slongo told Cycling Weekly. “He likes slight uphill finishes. He’s been at a disadvantage up until this point.”
“The crash didn’t do him any favours. He is riding well, placing second twice now, but those impacts remain with you.”
Slongo said Sagan needed time, not addition massages or treatment to heal. The team time trial today may give him what he needs before heading into tomorrow’s sprint stage to Marseille.
“We’ve just started, so there are chances to win a stage,” Sagan added. “I hope I’ll recover day after day.”
Sagan won three stages and collected points in many mixed stages to take the green jersey in his debut Tour last year.
He explained at the start of this year’s Tour that his goals are the same, but with more pressure and more fans. Every day in Corsica, Slovakians lined the finish area and cheered for Sagan after the stage.
With a smile and good humour, he takes it all in stride and gives the feeling that his first 2013 stage win his not far away.
“Here in the Tour,” he said, “nothing’s impossible.”