Peter Sagan Sprints To Third Stage Win At The Tour de France
With many star sprinters already out of the race, Stage 13 of the 2018 Tour de France was a chance for dark-horse teams and riders to step up.
But at the end of the 169.5K stage from Bourg d’Oisans to Valence, it was Peter Sagan – a five-time winner of the green jersey – who emerged victorious from a close bunch sprint to the finish on Friday.
The Slovakian, who announced on Facebook this week that he and his wife recently separated, narrowly edged Alexander Kristoff and Arnaud Démare to win his third Tour stage this year. He holds a comfortable 228-point lead over Kristoff in the green jersey classification.
Sagan is one of the few real sprinters left in the race, after surviving an Alpine stage trilogy that killed the hopes of rivals Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, and Dylan Groenewegen. All four exited the race over two tough days in the Alps, and Sagan was quick to capitalise.
He was given extra work on Friday after Belgian upstart Philippe Gilbert brazenly attacked a leading peloton full of ambitious sprinters 930 meters from the line. But Sagan and his rivals didn’t flinch. They kept the pace high and caught Gilbert with 245 metres remaining.
Démare’s FDJ team was key in chasing down a relatively tame four-man breakaway in the closing kilometers of the race, but the Frenchman came up short when it came to payback. He launched his burst first, but, as Kristoff and Sagan came up on his left, Démare ran out of juice.
Barring a mishap, Sagan appears set to tie Erik Zabel’s record of six green jerseys when the race warps up in Paris.
Geraint Thomas, fresh from winning two stages in the Alps, remained the overall leader ahead of Sky teammate Chris Froome by 1:39, with Dutchman Tom Dumoulin still in third at 1:50 behind.