Peter Sagan toughs it out to win his sixth green jersey in Paris

World champion pushes through pain to finish Tour as points winner

Peter Sagan was crowned winner of the 2018 Tour de France points competition in Paris on Sunday, having struggled through the past four days of the race following a crash last Wednesday.

Although the Bora-Hansgrohe rider had mathematically sewn up the points title following stage 16, he still had to finish the Tour to claim his sixth points title. And finishing the race was going to be easier said than done after the Slovakian crashed heavily the very next day, on stage 17 between Bagnères-de-Luchon and Saint-Lary-Soulan.

Sagan misjudged a corner on the descent of the Col de Val Louron-Azet, and, while he was left battered and bruised, after limping to the finish his team confirmed that evening that nothing was broken, and that Sagan had every intention of continuing to Paris.

After trying to recover a little on the flatter stage 18 the following day, Sagan suffered terribly during the Tour's final stage in the mountains on stage 19 between Lourdes and Laruns on Friday, calling it his "hardest day on a bike", and saying that getting through the stage was worth more to him than the three stage victories he'd taken earlier in the race.

On Sunday, the reigning road race world champion was therefore thrilled to have made it to Paris in the green jersey.

"I'm so happy to wear the maillot vert on the Champs-Elysées for the sixth time," said Sagan. "It's such a great feeling, especially after the four very difficult days that followed my crash. It was tough, but here I am. I'd like to thank all the Bora-Hansgrohe riders, staff and sponsors for their help in making this a reality."

In winning a sixth green jersey, Sagan has equalled retired German sprinter Erik Zabel's tally of points titles, and has been able to lay to rest the disappointment that was his disqualification from the 2017 Tour de France when he was judged to have caused Mark Cavendish's crash in the finishing sprint on stage 4 – although that did prevent Sagan from winning what might have been a record-equalling six green jerseys in a row, as achieved by Zabel.

Team manager Ralph Denk was one of those who'd had to help nurse his rider through the past few days and complete the team's goal of winning the points classification with Sagan.

"Peter showed incredible fighting spirit to bring home the green jersey after his crash," said Denk on the Bora-Hansgrohe website, "and the entire team sacrificed themselves for the whole three weeks. We have an amazing spirit in our team, and I'm really proud of every single team member."

Denk said that the team's goals going into the race had been to win a stage, take the green jersey, and to get their GC rider, Rafal Majka, into the top five overall in Paris.

"In the end, we took three stage wins and the green jersey, so we succeeded in most of them," he said. "The GC didn’t work out as planned, but you can't plan everything to perfection in sports – you always have some mishaps. Rafal crashed twice in Roubaix [on stage 9], and that was something that affected him too much. But he came back strongly in the final week."

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