CHERBOURG (France) • World champion Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the second stage of the Tour de France, a 183km ride from Saint Lo to Cherbourg, to take the overall leader's yellow jersey yesterday.
The Tinkoff rider beat France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), who were second and third respectively.
Belgian Jasper Stuyven spent almost the entire stage in the lead but was agonisingly caught in the final kilometre.
Double Tour champion Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) of Spain crashed for the second time in as many days and lost time to the other overall favourites, as did Australian Richie Porte (BMC) who suffered a puncture in the finale.
So, after almost three years of coming up short, Sagan won a stage and took the yellow jersey for the first time. He benefited from the help of Roman Kreuziger, who towed him into a perfect position - even if Sagan did not know it as he crossed the line.
Tinkoff have some tough calls to make, after their main contender Contador suffered all day and finished 50 seconds behind his rivals.
It was also a tough day for Etixx-QuickStep, Alaphilippe joining Marcel Kittel in letting a stage win slip away.
Stuyven launched a solo attack 10km from the finish line and got within 500m. He at least got the polka-dot (king of the mountains) jersey as consolation.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN