Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) is so close to sealing his fifth consecutive green jersey at the Tour de France that he can almost taste it. In fact, the world champion has accumulated enough points that all he needs to do now is finish the race in Paris.
Sagan rode into another breakaway during stage 17, the first day in the Alps held from Berne to the summit of Finhaut-Emosson that overlooked Lac d'Emosson dam in the Swiss-French Alps.
The breakaway started with 11 with Sagan and teammate Rafal Majka, along with Tanel Kangert (Astana), Stef Clement and Jarlinson Pantano (IAM), Kristjian Durasek (Lampre-Merida), Tony Gallopin (Lotto-Soudal), Domenico Pozzovivo (AG2R), Steve Morabito (FDJ), Ilnur Zakarin (Katusha) and Brice Feillu (Fortuneo-Vital Concept). It swelled to 14 riders as a second grip bridge across with Alexey Lutsenko (Astana), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), and Thomas Voeckler (Direct Energie).
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There was only one intermediate sprint during the 184.5km stage, and it was at the 150km mark in Martigny. Sagan picked up the 20 points he pursued, which increased his total to 425 in the green jersey points classification, a whopping 197 more than runner-up Marcel Kittel (Etixx-QuickStep) and 269 ahead of Bryan Coquard (Direct Energie).
His closest runner-up in the points classification following stage 16, Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), abandoned the Tour during the second rest day on Tuesday in order to focus on the upcoming Olympic Games.
Sagan's objective in the breakaway was also to help teammate Rafal Majka pick up more points toward the mountain classification. In a team press release, director Steven De Jongh praised his riders for their efforts in the day's move, and Sagan said, "I'm very happy he got some points for the mountains jersey, and I got some more points for my jersey, too."
There are four stages left in the Tour de France, and three of them are in the Alps finishing in Megève, Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc and Morzine. Barring any disasters, once Sagan wraps up the points classification at this year's Tour on July 24 in Paris, he is only one green jersey away from tying for the most consecutive wins with Erik Zabel, who won the classification a record six years in a row between 1996 and 2001.