Team Liquigas-Cannondale rider Peter Sagan won his first career Tour de France stage, picking up a solid win during stage 1 of the 99th edition of the famed race.
The 198-kilometer stage started in Liege and ended in Seraing, Belgium, and featured the surprisingly difficult Côte de Seraing to finish the stage.
Sagan jumped on Team RadioShack-Nissan rider Fabian Cancellara’s wheel, benefiting from the Swiss rider’s slipstream for more than a kilometer to the finish line. Joined by Team Sky’s Edvald Boasson Hagen, the trio managed to finish ahead of a surging Philippe Gilbert and the rest of the splintered peloton.
Following the stage win, Sagan had this to say (via CyclingNews):
"Of course people told me I was the favourite. I knew that Chavanel would try something at the end. I wanted to attack at the hardest section. It was very, very good that Cancellara was there. I saw that he had strong legs. It was good to take it easy behind him."
Sagan showed that he’s a top-notch talent for the years to come, and today officially put sprinters and specialist riders on notice. Whether it’s a completely flat stage, or a steep, turbulent finish like stage 1, Sagan has an explosive finish that very few riders can match.
Cancellara retained the yellow jersey, and still has a seven-second lead ahead of Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins.
Stage 2 tomorrow is a 208-kilometer, flat stage for the peloton’s fast man, so expect to see Sagan mix it up with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Andre Greipel and Tyler Farrar.