Peter Sagan beats Geraint Thomas to win Shanghai Criterium

Tour de France stars put on a show in exhibition race

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the Shanghai Tour de France exhibition criterium in China on Saturday, beating Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and European champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) after the three broke away from the rest of the peloton.

Thomas tried to lead out the sprint but Sagan dived to the front before the final corner, opened a gap and was able to celebrate with his arms in the air. Sagan raced in the green points jersey he won at the Tour de France, with Thomas racing in the yellow jersey he won in July.

Pierre Latour (AG2R La Mondiale) won the best young rider prize just as he did at the Tour de France, while Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) won the points competition, while Mitchelton-Scott were best team.

On Friday the riders signed autographs and some raced with local children before dressing in traditional Chinese Opera outfits that were colour-coded to suit the different jerseys of the Tour de France.

How it happened

The Shanghai roller coaster is no place for distractions! This is the golden rule of races on dynamic circuits, particularly when points are up for grabs every four laps.

A group of six riders, including Romain Bardet, Wang Meiyin, Nils Politt and Daniel Oss, formed the early attack of the race. However, the peloton never conceded more than 20 seconds and reeled them in on the fifth lap, only for a new five-man group to launch a counter-attack.

Marcel Kittel nabbed the points on offer at the second intermediate sprint, capitalising on the absence of green jersey Peter Sagan. The German sprinter, who went home empty-handed from the Grande Boucle, was eager to make amends in China by taking the points classification.

Bardet surged again from the leading group with a counter-attack that caught the eye of the jury of the combativity prize. However the race all came back together on lap 16 of 20.

An important quartet broke away from the peloton with ten kilometres to go, with Geraint Thomas, Peter Sagan, Pierre Latour and Matteo Trentin joining forces.

The yellow jersey kicked it up a notch with just over two laps to go, dropping the white jersey, setting up a three-way sprint.

Trentin was hoping for another win but Peter Sagan pre-empted him and accelerated with over 300 metres to go, diving through the last corner and opening a gap.
 

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