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Cannondale delivers Sagan to Tour de France stage victory

Sam Dansie
July 5, 2013, 20:35,
July 5, 2013, 21:34
First Edition Cycling News, Saturday, July 6, 2013
Tour de France, Stage 7
Peter Sagan with the flowers for his stage win in Albi

Peter Sagan with the flowers for his stage win in Albi

  • Peter Sagan with the flowers for his stage win in Albi
  • Peter Sagan had good reason to point to the Cannondale logo after his team's work throughout the stage.
  • Points leader Peter Sagan (Cannondale) celebrates victory in stage 7 of the Tour de France.

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Italian team takes control on stage 7

When Peter Sagan (Cannondale) crossed the finish line of stage 7 of the Tour de France in Albi today, there was no showboating victory salute.

Instead, he tugged at his jersey and acknowledged his team’s critical contribution to the win. The 23-year-old Slovakian said he had a sprint train today – and one that had lasted 160km.

The win breaks a run of four lesser podium spots in this Tour, and deals a powerful blow to rivals’ hopes of wresting the green jersey from his shoulders.

"I am very happy with what the team did today and without them it would have been impossible for me to get the result," he said before hitting out at internet critics who, he said, speculated that the Cannondale sprint train was weak compared to the Lotto-Belisol and Omega Pharma-QuickStep formations.

"At the beginning of this Tour I told everybody that I’m not here with a team that is built around me to launch me in a sprint. We have a different tactic this year and what my team did today was a sprint train, but it was for 160km."

The 206km between Montpellier to Albi was a classic Tour stage through somnolent, heat-weary countryside of south west France. The Italian team’s strategy, Sagan revealed, had been to jettison green jersey rivals such as Andre Greipel and Mark Cavendish on the Col de la Croix de Mounis and take maximum points at the intermediate sprint in Viane Pierre-Segade – a strategy Sagan fulfilled to the letter.

He added: "We aimed to drop the other sprinters at the intermediate sprint. After that we saw there was a break and so my teammates came and asked me why we didn’t carry on – maybe you can win the stage, they said."

And so the Cannondale squad maintained the relentless pace-setting until chance of the grupetto containing Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol), Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Marcel Kittel (Argos-Shimano) was eliminated with less than 40km to go.

Despite John Degenkolb’s (Argos Shimano) spirited charge through a tiny gap in the final metres in Albi, Sagan ended the day with a victory that goes a long way to closing down the green jersey ambitions of his rivals.

The win moves him nearly 100 points clear in the competition and means even if nearest rival Greipel won two stages and the Slovakian failed to take a single point, he would still hold the jersey with two thirds of the race still to come.

Despite the extended lead, Sagan insists it is still too early to think about taking the green jersey.

"Today the intention was to take a few points and we got more than we expected this morning. The Tour is very long and we still have 14 stages to go. Anything can happen so I think it’s too early to have a strategy. We go day by day."

wheel chaser More than 1 year ago
A great stage win for Sagan with lots of thanks to a dogged Cannondale team.
Ser Gio OleJet More than 1 year ago
Nevertheless Greipel (or maybe Cavendish) is the best sprinter on the flats this year.
wheel chaser More than 1 year ago
Cavendish may be a better pure sprinter but Sagan is a much stronger rider as todays stage proved once again.
Marco Santoro More than 1 year ago
cavendish > sagan in closing kick or last 200metres....Sagan > Cavendish at EVERYTHING ELSE (form, sprint hills, descends, intelligence, being able to position hiimself without needing his entire team to do the job, stages with mountains at the middle, classics, cobblestones...etc etc etc)
FFrenchcyclisme More than 1 year ago
Very impressive stage by Cannondale. The team deserves the victory.
Rachel Dugdale More than 1 year ago
Wonderful writing.. "somnolent, heat-weary countryside" .... you took me right there.
Raoul Duke More than 1 year ago
Happier now that Sagan at least has one this year.
Major Nelson More than 1 year ago
Cycling needs Sagan. He is the superhero we have been waiting for. One that is as flawed as he is talented, and as much fun to watch as he is expected to win. Meaning, win or lose, this guy is the one we follow and love to see what happens next. Good or bad. All the while knowing that the good is the innocence of youthful enthusiasm, mixed with legs and a heart of fictional god, yet the bad is hopefully not the artificial, man-made stench of dope. I love this guy. He reminds me of what is good in cycling. He is Cancellara. He is Merckx. Or, just the mix of their youthful myths mixed in with an excitable young man, growing into the world of competition and critics without a real care of either (yet). This is what I want of cycling. A slightly mythological, entertaining, talent, who rides for the pleasure of the sport and to thrill those of us who watch athletes. Around him, you hear of the pinching of a beautiful woman's buttock (disrespectful as it may have been), instead of the horror of needles and bottles filled with blood. You hear a youthful scattered and broken English, like Arnold Schwartzenegger movies rather than the adult-ER-ated politician he became. It was truth, because he hadn't learned to lie (yet). Until that day comes, when the critics have their say and their way, and when we have grown tired of holding him high on a pulpit, cycling needs Sagan. We need a boy wonder, a Superman, a hulk. We need a star, a villain, a character. We need a winner, a loser, a player that is there no matter what. We need that smile, that pose, that arrogance. We need Merckx, Chippolini, Cavendish and Jens more than we need Schlecks, Wiggins, Contador, Froome and those who survive the long races with a little help from their friends. Cycling needs Sagan. He is the superhero we have been waiting for. One that is as flawed as he is talented, and is as fun to watch as he is expected to win.
rocket man More than 1 year ago
I'm waiting for three or four years time when he starts to reach his peak, then we will see just what hes capable of.
scalpelist More than 1 year ago
Great ride by the Cannondale team. To hold off the three sprinters' teams for so long and to finally crack them was awesome - in the true sense of the word (well, true enough). And to have Sagan finish off all that gutsy riding was very exciting and must be extremely satisfying for the team who worked so hard for him.
Uncle_Tod More than 1 year ago
What Cannondale did today was nothing short of impressive. Hats off to them for pulling this off. And of course to Sagan for finishing it off in the sprint!
Tour de France
Tour de France 2013