Second points classification win for Slovak
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) spent so long in the green jersey at this Tour de France that it is easy to gloss over his victory in the points classification but a cursory glance at the final standings demonstrates the full scale of his achievement.
The Slovak finished some 97 points clear of second-placed Mark Cavendish (409 points to Cavendish's 312) to carry the green tunic to Paris for the second successive season, and he explained that the experience of 2012 had stood to him this around.
"I was certainly better prepared because I knew the secrets of the Tour de France after my first experience of the race," said Sagan, who dyed his goatee green for the grand finale in Paris, where he finished 4th behind stage winner Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano).
Sagan's Tour got off to a bad start when he was among the fallers on the opening day in Corsica and although he was quickly back in the mix at the business end of bunch sprints in week one, he said that the effects of the crash had an impact on his performance.
"The crash meant that I didn't enjoy it as much," Sagan said. "It handicapped me through the first week and that explains my many second and third places on stages where I hoped to win."
Sagan finally got off the mark in Albi on stage 7, after his Cannondale team had worked prodigiously to drop Cavendish, André Greipel and Marcel Kittel midway through the stage. It was to prove to be Sagan's sole stage victory of the race, however, as he was unable to repeat his haul of three wins from his Tour debut last year.
Instead, the youngster contented himself by all but shoring up the points classification by entering the early break on the stage to Mont Ventoux at the end of week two, where he celebrated by pulling a wheelie and then saluting the television cameras as the yellow jersey group engulfed him on the Giant of Provence.
By finishing in the top four on no fewer than nine occasions, Sagan was the most consistent finisher in the race, and his ability to score intermediate points on all terrains proved an invaluable asset.
"You can't repeat the same identical scenario every year," Sagan said. "In the end, I can only be satisfied as I had announced that my objective was the green jersey and I'm won it. I was able to rely on the help of my team, especially on the stage I won to Albi."
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