Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has mathematically sealed a record-equalling sixth Tour de France green jersey after none of his nearest rivals were able to pick up points on stage 16 to Bagneres-de-Luchon. There is still the small matter of four more stages, two in the high mountains, a time trial and a sprint day, before the final one in Paris but Sagan's 282-point lead over Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) is now unassailable.
Sagan had already secured his 100th day in the green jersey, and as long as he can make it to Paris, Sagan will equal the record of Erik Zabel with no clear rival for the competition for the foreseeable. Speaking to the press afterwards, Sagan did not appear awed at all by his achievement but joked with journalists in the mixed zone.
Sagan has made many big achievements but perhaps it was the knowledge of what is still to come that has his emotions in check.
"I feel good. I will try to hold it until Paris and I'm happy for it," Sagan said in a matter-of-fact way. "The Tour de France isn't over, we still have more difficult days to race until we reach Paris."
The primary hurdle for Sagan will be Wednesday's short 65-kilometre stage. There will be no neutral start for the riders and it is expected to be full gas right from the start with the first climb of the day coming immediately. Get through it, and Paris will be within sniffing distance.
"It would be better if it was a mountain time trial," joked Sagan. "Tomorrow is a shorter one but I think the hardest stage for the time limit. If we survive tomorrow then it's almost done."
Sagan's day wasn't as easy and breezy as he might have hoped after he was one of the many riders who ended up with pepper spray in their eyes and lungs after police used it on demonstrators in the opening 30 kilometres of the race. The race was stopped for several minutes while many riders had their eyes cleaned out.
"You tell me what happened. I think the police calmed the situation with pepper spray and everybody got it in their eyes and in their lungs," he said. "It wasn't directly but it was in the air from that. It was OK. After 10 minutes everything was OK."
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