Sagan surprised with Suisse stage win

Slovakian encouraged by form in the lead in to the Tour de France

The odds of Peter Sagan (Cannondale) taking the Tour de France green jersey shortened somewhat on Monday with the Slovakian claiming an impressive victory on Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse.

Sagan made a move around Rui Costa (Movistar) to take the win after the Portugese rider effectively led him out. While Sagan's comparative strength once the final selection had been made shocked no one, the 23-year-old was more than pleased at having found himself in contention. With 22km to the finish line, a category one climb stood in the way, with general classification contenders the likes of Tejay van Garderen and his BMC team pushing the pace.

"Honestly I'm surprised to be able to take this win," explained Sagan. "In the morning meeting with DS we thought that this finale was too hard to try a move. The stage looked good when I stayed with the leaders on the final climb. On the descent, the group got smaller and with the other three riders I pushed to go to the finish. The final sprint wasn't so easy. I knew I was the faster rider of the group but my legs felt tired due to the last climb. I preferred a two-up sprint with Rui Costa to not run any risks."

The battle for the green jersey at the Tour de France is thought to be a two-horse race between defending champion Sagan and 2011 winner Mark Cavendish. With a sprint stage ahead on today at the Tour de Suisse, Sagan will get another chance to hone his form. Last month, Sagan took his tally at the Tour of California to 10 stages while also adding his fourth points classification at the US race. Monday's win was Sagan's 11th victory of the 2013 season.

"I'm really happy for this win and to have found the first positive sign of my form," he explained. "Every day is a useful test to prepare for the Tour de France. There is only one target: be at the top to fight for the green jersey. If I find other chances at the Tour de Suisse I'll be ready, but for me it's important to see my form improving."

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