7/6/2012 12:00:00 AM - TEAM NEWS!
Sagan wins Tour de France stage 6 in Metz
Crash dashes GC hopes for Ryder Hesjedal
Sagan… The name has become a byword for ‘sensational’ at this year’s Tour de France as the 22-year-old Slovak took yet another stage win to make it a triple treat in 2012. The Liquigas-Cannondale rider simply out-powered André Greipel and Matthew Goss to the line in Metz, despite the best efforts of the Lotto-Belisol and Orica-GreenEdge teams respectively.
"Another win and I called this one ‘The Hulk'," said Peter Sagan, regarding his victory salute in Metz. "I'm very happy when I can win a stage like today. Yesterday I was unlucky with the crash but also content that nothing was broken and that I didn't have any injuries.
"This is already more than I ever expected. It's surprised me, too. I wanted to do well but I need to say that this is only the start of the Tour de France and tomorrow is when the race really begins because it's the climbs and I think that after two weeks, by the start of the third week, it's going to be really hard.
"I want the green jersey and I think I can hold on to it all the way to Paris."
With a properly flat parcours and on the eve of a foray into the mountains most would ensure a stage without high drama at this year’s Tour but you’d be wrong as the day was again characterized by crashes and calamity. Runner-up Greipel was involved in two crashes, but still figured in the finale.
"I crashed at 35km and then again at the mountain ranking," Greipel told Radsport-News.com. "I didn't want to sprint, but my teammates talked me into it. It was unbelievably painful." The German sprinter is believed to have dislocated his left shoulder.
For some of the Tour’s big general classification contenders, the day was defined by a massive crash just 25km from home that saw the likes of Garmin-Sharp’s Ryder Hesjedal (who lost more than 13 minutes), Frank Schleck (Radioshack-Nissan-Trek) and Rabobank’s Robert Gesink forego a significant swathe of time; tomorrow’s hills will prove that much harder after the accident as four riders were forced to abandon due to the injuries they suffered.
Consequently, the overall standings took on a different complexion by day’s end, with Hesjedal gone from the top 10 to leave Garmin-Sharp’s hopes in shreds, along with Edvald Boasson Hagen, who found himself caught in the day’s big crash. Radioshack-Nissan’s Fabian Cancellara remains in yellow – he’ll celebrate a week in the jersey tomorrow – whilst his teammate Maxime Monfort slips into the first ten. He’ll be one to watch in the next week.
A tranquil day… Who are we kidding?
With the mountains beckoning and yesterday’s finish line palpitations fresh in their minds, the men working for the Tour’s sprinters kept the day’s break on a short leash. Experienced stager David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp) attacked early in the day and was joined by Davide Malacarne (Europcar), Romain Zingle (Cofidis) and Karsten Kroon (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) to form the day’s escaping quartet after about 10km.
The break was allowed a maximum advantage nudging seven minutes before it was time to start pegging back the plucky escapees. The flat parcours lent itself to doing so with ease and the sprinters’ teams could pick and choose how much and when the time would be erased from the break.
There was a crash about 50km into the stage as double stage winner Greipel, his Lotto-Belisol teammate Francis de Greefe, Movistar duo José Ivan Gutierrez and Alejandro Valverde and Gesink and Vacansoleil-DCM pair Lieuwe Westra and Kris Boeckmans all touched down.
With much toil from several of his Lotto-Belisol teammates, Greipel could be seen taking a tow back to the peloton – the opportunity for further stage win glory driving the German and his lieutenants on as the pace increased at the front of the bunch.
Read more on: cyclingnews.com
Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) wins in Metz over Andre Greipel
Photo: © Bettini Photo