Tour de France 2017: Peter Sagan wins stage three uphill finish - Road Cycling UK

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Tour de France 2017: Peter Sagan wins stage three uphill finish

World champion wins in Longwy as Geraint Thomas retains yellow jersey and Chris Froome goes second overall

World champion Peter Sagan (Bora-hansgrohe) won stage three of the 2017 Tour de France on the uphill finish to Longwy, leading the sprint out and holding off the charge of Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb).

Sagan slipped on his pedals just as he looked to open up his sprint, but the Slovakian recovered well and kicked on to claim the eighth Tour de France stage win of his career.

Matthews late surge was enough to earn second place, while Ireland’s Dan Martin (QuickStep Floors) was third.

Yellow jersey Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) and defending champion and team-mate Chris Froome both finished inside the top ten, meanwhile, as the Welshman retained the race lead.

Froome, meanwhile, is now second overall behind his team-mate, 12 seconds further back in the general classification.

Peter Sagan won stage three of the 2017 Tour de France, despite dropping a pedal 500m from the finish line (pic – Sirotti)

After some early attacks, a six-man break had established by the time the race reached the Spa-Francochamps racing circuit – Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal), Romain Hardy (Fortuneo-Oscaro), Nate Brown (Cannondale-Drapac), Frederik Backaert (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) and Romain Sicard (Direct Energie) joining forces up the road.

Brown led the way over the day’s first classified climb, while Politt was first at the intermediate sprint, before Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) tested his legs by leading the peloton through 1’50” later.

With a relatively slow average speed being set, the gap went up to more than three-and-a-half minutes by the time Brown beat Politt on the Cote d’Eschcorf to seal a day in the polka dot jersey.

The peloton was always in control, however, with Julien Vermote (QuickStep Floors) putting in a big shift on the front.

The composition of the front group changed with 50km still to race, Thomas de Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) and Pierre-Louis Perichon (Fortuneo-Oscaro) taking advantage of the gap coming back down to bridge across.

De Gendt, Calmejane, Hardy and Perichon then split the front group, while at the same time Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) was being relayed back to the peloton by his team-mates after a small issue.

Calmejane kicked on over an uncategorised climb, however, and was alone at the front, a minute clear of the peloton, with 20km to ride.

His attack earned him a solitary King of the Mountains point, but little else, however, as the peloton swept up the young Frenchman with 10km to race and the pace ramped up.

Richie Porte accelerated on the final climb, but Sagan came from fourth wheel to close the gap and power to victory (pic – Sirotti)

The battle for position was frantic, and BMC Racing and Bora-hansgrohe traded places on the run-in to, and the lower slopes of, the final climb.

Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) led the way under the flamme rouge, with the front of the race boxed out by the GC contenders as much as the favourites for the stage.

As Roche peeled off, Richie Porte accelerated but Sagan charged up to lead into the final few hundred metres, overcoming his slight slip on the pedals to beat Matthews with a big throw to the line.

And the Slovakian insisted he had not felt the pressure prior to the stage, having been marked as favourite for the finish.

“What is pressure?” Sagan laughed after the finish line. “First I need to thank all of my team – they did an amazing job pulling all day in the front.

“There was a lot of stress in the peloton then in the end it was a pretty hard climb.

“[When] I started my sprint, and pulled my foot out of my cleat and thought, what is happening today? But I am very happy for the win.”

Overall, Thomas now leads Froome and Matthews by 12 seconds overall, and with stage four another flat run to Vittel, the Team Sky duo will be hopeful of keeping those top two places.

Tour de France 2017: stage three – result

1) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe – 5.07.19hrs
2) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb – ST
3) Daniel Martin (IRL) – QuickStep Floors
4) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
5) Alberto Bettiol (ITA) – Cannondale-Drapac +2″
6) Arnaud Demare (FRA) – FDJ – ST
7) Jakob Fuglsang (DEN) – Astana
8) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky
9) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
10) Rafal Majka (POL) – Bora-hansgrohe

General classification

1) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky – 10.00.31hrs
2) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky +12″
3) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb – ST
4) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe +13″
5) Edvald Boasson Hagen (NOR) – Dimension Data +16″
6) Pierre Latour (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale +25″
7) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – QuickStep Floors +30″
8) Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) – Team Sky +32″
9) Tim Wellens (BEL) – Lotto-Soudal – ST
10) Nikias Arndt (GER) – Team Sunweb +34″

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