SLOVAKIA’S Peter Sagan announced his arrival at the Tour de France with a sensational sprint victory in Seraing ahead of Fabian Cancellara, who retained the race leader’s yellow jersey.
Cancellara attacked a third of the way up the final 2.4km ascent to the finish of yesterday’s 198-kilometres undulating loop through the Ardennes region of Belgium around Liege, and it seemed only Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) could go with him.
Edvald Boasson Hagen (Team Sky) bridged the gap and the trio were clear with 500m to go, but Sagan powered away to claim a first Tour stage win of his career.
He was the youngest Tour stage winner since a 21-year-old Lance Armstrong triumphed in 1993.
Cancellara was second with Boasson Hagen of Norway third and Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) fourth. Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) finished 16th to remain second overall, still 10 seconds ahead of defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), who was 20th to remain 17 seconds behind Cancellara.
“Of course people told me I was the favourite,” Sagan said. “I knew that (Sylvain) Chavanel would try something at the end. I wanted to attack at the hardest section.
“I’m just so happy it went so well.”