Peter Sagan (Cannondale) kept the green points jersey for yet another day at the Tour de France after the high-speed stage 5 sprint in Marseille, but the Slovak rider struggled to consider it as a consolation after finishing third behind Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky).
"Va bene cosi," he said in Italian after pulling on the green jersey. "I'm just glad I didn't crash. I scored some points with third place and I've kept the green jersey, so it's an okay day."
Sagan was ahead of the pile-up in the finishing straight but is still looking for his first victory in this year's Tour de France. He crashed on stage one to Bastia, was second behind Jan Bakelants (RadioShack-Leopard) in Ajaccio and was beaten by Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge) in Calvi on Monday.
He has a healthy lead in the green jersey competition, with 111 points, while Cavendish is second with 76 points. However Sagan is a natural born winner and wants to celebrate a stage win with one of his special victory salutes.
"It's nice to have the jersey but I want to win stage too. I'm trying every day," he said with a hint of frustration in his voice.
"I'm not perfect after the crash but I'm getting better and better. Hopefully I can win a stage in the next few days. Today's sprint was a bit crazy and was a bit dangerous. Mark Cavendish is the best sprinter in the sport and so it's not easy to beat him. I think I did a good sprint, I didn't lose many points to him, so I have to be happy."
Sagan came from behind with a late surge to take third place. He was on Andre Greipel's wheel after the last sweeping corner but admitted he would have had a better chance of victory if he'd been on Cavendish's wheel.
"Edvald Boasson Hagen was a bit lucky because he was behind Mark, while I did my sprint alone. That's the difference but that's also sprinting," he said.
"Tomorrow is another stage for the sprinters. I hope it will finally go my way."
The 176.5km stage from Ax-en-Provence crosses the north of the Camargue region of southern France and is almost totally flat. The last sweeping corner is three kilometres from the finish and so a fast sprint is expected, with lead out trains again playing a vital role.
Thank you for signing up to Cycling News. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.