A bike throw on the line in Venray gave Peter Sagan the 98th professional victory of his career and second WorldTour leader's jersey in 2017. Bora-Hansgrohe's World Champion repeated his Tour de Pologne stage 1 win from last week atthe BinckBank Tour in a photo finish ahead of Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb).
Neither Sagan or Bauhaus celebrated, and both riders were then forced to wait for the official confirmation of the result. Having checked the replays, Sagan emerged the winner for the third time at the race after his two wins last year.
"I was very lucky in the finish, because I was certain that I'd been passed on the line, but I took the win purely because I threw my bike at the last second," Sagan said. "I didn't even know I'd won until five minutes later. I didn't want to go too early in the sprint – I wanted someone in front of me – so I waited until a little later before I went. The line was just too far away then, so I let Rudi and Groenewegen keep the gap, and after that I started my sprint behind them so I had a better line, taking advantage of having two guys in front of me, but still Bauhaus did a great sprint.
Sagan will start the Voorburg 9km stage 2 time trial with a one second lead over Laurens De Vreese (Astana) and with all bar Piet Allegaert (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) within ten seconds of his lead. Third overall last year, Sagan explained that he is focused on another title at the GC after his good showing in Poland last week.
"I'm going to keep going and fighting at the race. Tomorrow is a big day for everyone with a 9km time trial – it'll be tough and we want to make the most of it for Bora-Hansgrohe. It's a good day for Maciej Bodnar, and I'll try not to lose time myself," Sagan added.
Following the time trial, Sagan will have opportunities to reach the 100 win mark on the following five stages.
The win was also a special occasion for Bora-Hansgrohe's sports director Jens Zemke as he explained.
"It was my first victory with Peter, so I am really happy about this. After some bad luck, finally, luck is back on our side again," Zemke said. "The team worked perfectly together the whole day and we are here with a strong line-up. Even though it was really close today, it was a great start to this race. Now, the plan is not to lose time tomorrow, but with Bodi we have a strong time trial specialist in our squad."