The world champion Peter Sagan won a crash-marred second stage of the Tour de France and took the overall leaders yellow jersey with a perfectly period sprint
Peter Sagan took the overall leading in the Tour de France following an uphill sprint win in La Roche-sur-Yon after another hectic finale involved a major accident on the final bending and yet more splits in the field.
Among the fallers during the latter half of the stage was Adam Yates, although he recovered to rejoin the peloton. Chris Froome, meanwhile, a day after tumbling into a field, was this time on the right side of the gaps and finished in the lead group of 117 riders, which included most of the main contenders.
” Obviously crashing is never much fun ,” Froome said of his stage-one spill,” so I’m just glad I wasn’t more injured yesterday. Looking ahead, the legs feel good so I’m optimistic about what is to come hopefully .”
Froome’s teammate Luke Rowe took a pragmatic approach when asked if Froome’s crash had dented morale.” No one died did they ?” he told.” We just lost 50 seconds with one guy. I don’t think there is any need for a sombre mood. That is racing and it’s going to happen. I don’t think anyone was particularly too bothered .”
Sagan’s prowess in uphill sprints and his uncanny ability to stay upright, shine through as the peloton entered the final kilometre with the triple world champion is again threading his way through the chaos, while others, including the overnight race leader Fernando Gaviria and rival sprinter Michael Matthews, came to grief.
Monday’s 35.5 -kilometre team time trial, based on Cholet, offers Froome another chance to make inroads into his deficit and may also offer his teammate Geraint Thomas, Sky’s best-placed rider, a hope of claiming the maillot jaune from the race leader Sagan.
” The goal is to win the stage ,” Thomas said,” and hopefully with that comes the yellow jersey and some time in the stands. Whether it plays out like that route, who knows, we’ll just waiting ensure. But I believe the goal of every one is likely to be full gas .”
The Team Sky principal, Dave Brailsford, acknowledged that it will be the Tour’s first major rendezvous.” It’s where you have got to push the limit more than ever ,” he said.” But it is technological as well, so you can’t make an error. The margin for mistake in terms of going too hard or making a slight technological error, you are able to pay for it massively.
” We’ve got to get an absolutely perfect executing and in order to do that you focus on the process and you don’t worry on the outcome ,” he told.” But there is no doubt about it that there will be period gained and lost tomorrow, that is inevitable .”
But for a lacklustre Mark Cavendish, it was as his squad manager Doug Ryder said,” another missed opportunity “. Cavendish still looks far short of the flying form that has taken him to 30 stage wins in past Tours, four short of equalling Eddy Merckx’s record of 34.
” It’s a common misconception that a sprint day is an easy day ,” Cavendish said at the finish.” There’s more stress in these days because everybody is there, whereas in the mountains you’ve got the climbers ahead and it sorts itself out.
” There’s this battle going on constantly and that builds it more stressful ,” the 33 -year-old said.” It takes the energy, runs and runs, from concentrating. When it comes to the end everybody’s so tired, with mental wearines that’s when accidents happen .”
Asked if supposed safety measure of the reduction in squad size, from nine riders to eight, in Grand Tours, had built the racing safer, Cavendish said ” not at all .” Sagan shared the sentiment.” Being safe in the peloton is about the riders , not about the numbers ,” he said.
Slowly but surely, the chances for Cavendish to close on Merckx’s record are ebbing away, as it seems is his morale. Asked on Sunday if his form had improved he told:” Results wise no, but I felt better today. It’s easier said than done though .”
Plagued by crashes this spring, Cavendish has struggled for form all season. His task during this Tour has been stimulated harder by the absence of the long-term road captain Bernhard Eisel, who is out of action after sustaining a head trauma in a accident this spring.
For now, his Dimension Data team are backing him.” We are committed to Mark ,” Ryder told.” He’s a great champion and champions don’t come overnight. Mark is committed to making this happen and trying to be as successful as he can be. Everybody will focus to do a better chore .”
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