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Best young rider Peter Sagan
Cannondale leader avoids Harrogate crash
Peter Sagan (Cannondale) missed out on stage victory in Harrogate, but his Tour de France started well, with him finishing second behind Marcel Kittel, meaning he is second in the green jersey points competition and wears the white jersey of the best young rider. While several riders were left battered and bruised due to the late crash, Sagan climbed on the podium to pull on the white jersey.
"First of all, I'm happy that I didn't crash, that's the most important thing, looking what happened on the final straight," Sagan said.
"It was bad luck for some of the guys who crashed. I'm so sorry for Mark (Cavendish). But I think it's normal at the Tour de France. I've done it twice now and there were always crashes. I didn’t see the crash because it was behind me."
Sagan started his sprint early and was passed by Kittel in the final metres before the line.
"It was actually better than a normal finish because the guys who were strong where at the front," he suggested.
"I'm satisfied with the stage result. Kittel did a great sprint, he was the strongest, but I finished on the podium wearing the white jersey and I took important points for the green jersey, my goal for the Tour de France. I'm happy because my Tour started very well. There's still a long way to Paris, but I'll be happy if I can get to Paris."
In yellow in Sheffield?
Sagan is second in the overall classification with the same time as Kittel after stage 1. However, he could take yellow if Kittel is left behind on the hilly second stage to Sheffield and Sagan wins the stage or is well placed in the same time as other riders.
The 201km stage includes nine categorized climbs and dozen other minor climbs. It is likely that Sagan's Cannondale team will ride aggressively during the stage to drop Kittel and the other sprinters just as they did when Sagan won stage 7 to Albi in the 2013 Tour de France.
"It could be a really good chance, but at the same time I expect a really tough finale," Sagan predicted.
"I don't want to thing too much about the future. The Tour is a race to live day by day, being concentrated just on the present". We'll see what happens."