Peter Sagan (Cannondale & Slovakia) shone on today’s stage from Montpellier – he’s a breath of fresh air; he has the patter, the power, the speed, the will to win – and Cannondale have the airbrush work to back him up. And perhaps the scariest thing about him is that he’s still only 23 years-old.
If he can avoid the fast cars, clubs, models, tax problems and injury then he could well join the ‘Greats’ with another ten years possible.
He grabbed his first stage win of the 2013 Tour de France in the hardest imaginable way for a sprinter; here’s how ASO saw it;
“Generally a lead-out train for a sprint forms for the closing kilometres of a stage but if you have a look at the final 150km of the stage from Montpellier to Albi you’ll be hard pressed to find a team other than Cannondale on the front of the peloton for longer than a couple of minutes.
“This was a day when their leader, Peter Sagan, was determined to win and ultimately he did. The credit for success must go to every member of the team that was utterly committed to delivering him to the line in first place.
“Not only did he win the stage, he did so on a day that his teams eliminated his main rivals for the green jersey. Sagan was first at the intermediate sprint and first again at the finish. He collected the maximum haul of points for the stage (65) and now leads yesterday’s winner 224 points, to 130.
“The Slovakian champion was frustrated at having finished second in three stages in the first week but admitted after stage six that he had a plan – wait, be patient, and pounce when the other sprinters will have switched into survival mode.”
The terrain on the roads to the capital of the Tarn, were anything but flat. It was a day of undulations but also featured three significant categorised climbs.
It was on the second rise, the col de la Croix de Mounis that Mark Cavendish, André Greipel and a group of 58 others got in trouble. A point was made by Cannondale; “don’t mess with our leader!”
And they rammed the point home by never easing the tempo until the race was won.
Argos’s German sprinter for the lumpy days, John Degenkolb, saw it like this:
“I was suffering on the climbs when Cannondale put the hammer down, they rode hard.
“But I hung on and felt good after that. The boys did a great job to keep me out of the wind and then bring me into a good position for the sprint but at the end Sagan was just too strong.
“Second place isn’t a nice place to finish but when it is the Tour de France you have to be happy with that. It shows I have prepared well and I will hopefully have another opportunity to go for the win.”
Degenkolb ended the day in second spot with Saxo’s Daniele Bennati taking his third podium of the year – he was second in the GP Nobili Rubinetterie and a stage of the Tour de Suisse.
But it’ll soon be a year since he last won; a stage in the Vuelta.
And as Vik always says; ‘a sprinter has one role to perform – to win!’
As the wins dry up, the teams and pay cheques get smaller.
And on the subject of sprinting; how to make those crazy charges for the line a little bit safer?
Belgian commentator, Jose de Cauwer has a novel but sensible idea to make them somewhat less demented.
Ivan tells me that De Cauwer has the idea of taking finishing times for the GC riders at three kilometres to go; thus avoiding the GC teams getting involved with the sprinters’ teams in the final three K.
Jurgen Van den Broucke fell inside the last three K, if you exclude the GC riders’ teams from the sprints it could be a lot safer because you wouldn’t have six GC teams mixing it in the final three K to prevent their GC guy losing any time.
Of 15,000 Belgians polled, 12,000 thought it a good idea.
De Cauwer has proposed this to the UCI, there will be things that need to be ironed out, and it’s yet only a suggestion in the light of JVDB’s abandonee.
Tomorrow we’re into the hills, proper; and one thing I can say with certainty – Cav won’t win!
The race starts on a flat parcours but in the finale breaks the 2000 metre barrier on the 15 kilometre HC Col de Pailhères, le Tour’s highest point, this year; plummets for 20 K then rears for eight K up the first cat Aix 3 Domaines for the race’s first mountain top finish.
It’s one where the right break could stick – and where the GC will receive an enormous shake up.
Froome in yellow?
And under ‘just one more t’ing, sir’ as Colombo used to say – Peter, we love you, but have a shave please, son.
Results - Le Tour de France 2013 – Stage 7
2 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
3 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
4 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
6 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
7 Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack Leopard
8 Arthur Vichot (Fra) FDJ.fr
9 Manuele Mori (Ita) Lampre-Merida
10 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
11 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp
12 Daryl Impey (RSA) Orica-GreenEdge
13 Juan Antonio Flecha Giannoni (Spa) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
14 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Sojasun
15 Simon Gerrans (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
16 Bram Tankink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
17 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) BMC Racing Team
18 Wouter Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
19 Davide Malacarne (Ita) Team Europcar
20 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
21 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
22 Laurent Didier (Lux) RadioShack Leopard
23 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
24 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team
25 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
26 Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack Leopard
27 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
28 Julien El Fares (Fra) Sojasun
29 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling
30 Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
31 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp
32 Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
33 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
34 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
35 Romain Sicard (Fra) Euskaltel-Euskadi
36 Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
37 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
38 Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
39 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Merida
40 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
41 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
42 Przemyslaw Niemiec (Pol) Lampre-Merida
43 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
44 Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack Leopard
45 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team
46 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team
47 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
48 Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
49 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
50 Joaquim Rodriguez Oliver (Spa) Katusha
51 Eduard Vorganov (Rus) Katusha
52 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
53 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
54 Kristijan Koren (Slo) Cannondale Pro Cycling
55 Yukiya Arashiro (Jpn) Team Europcar
56 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Sharp
57 Amaël Moinard (Fra) BMC Racing Team
58 John Gadret (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
59 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
60 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar
61 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
62 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun
63 Robert Gesink (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team
64 Guillaume Levarlet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
65 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr
66 Mikel Astarloza Chaurreau (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
67 Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
68 Andy Schleck (Lux) RadioShack Leopard
69 Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team
70 Ryder Hesjedal (Can) Garmin-Sharp
71 Ruben Plaza Molina (Spa) Movistar Team
72 Michael Rogers (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
73 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack Leopard
74 Jan Bakelants (Bel) RadioShack Leopard
75 Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
76 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
77 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr
78 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr
79 Kanstantsin Siutsou (Blr) Sky Procycling
80 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
81 Alberto Losada Alguacil (Spa) Katusha
82 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
83 Andrey Amador Bakkazakova (CRc) Movistar Team
84 Steve Morabito (Swi) BMC Racing Team
85 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida
86 Rudy Molard (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
87 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ.fr
88 Jesus Hernandez Blazquez (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
89 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
90 Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Katusha
91 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Katusha
92 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
93 Matteo Tosatto (Ita) Team Saxo-Tinkoff
94 Elia Favilli (Ita) Lampre-Merida
95 Manuel Quinziato (Ita) BMC Racing Team 0:00:19
96 Simon Geschke (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 0:00:24
97 Juan Jose Oroz Ugalde (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:00:29
98 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:30
99 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:33
100 David Millar (GBr) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:24
101 Peter Kennaugh (GBr) Sky Procycling
102 Alan Marangoni (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:01:35
103 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling
104 Rohan Dennis (Aus) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:47
105 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:14:53
106 Mark Cavendish (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
107 Tom Veelers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
108 Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Belisol
109 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol
110 Kris Boeckmans (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
111 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
112 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
113 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
114 José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Movistar Team
115 Koen De Kort (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
116 Johannes Fröhlinger (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
117 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Spa) Movistar Team
118 Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
119 Jonathan Castroviejo Nicolas (Spa) Movistar Team
120 Roy Curvers (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
121 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
122 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
123 Frederik Willems (Bel) Lotto Belisol
124 Lars Ytting Bak (Den) Lotto Belisol
125 Aliaksandr Kuchynski (Blr) Katusha
126 Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto Belisol
127 Danny van Poppel (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
128 Markel Irizar Aranburu (Spa) RadioShack Leopard
129 Albert Timmer (Ned) Team Argos-Shimano
130 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Sojasun
131 David Veilleux (Can) Team Europcar
132 Stuart O’Grady (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge
133 Benjamin Noval Gonzalez (Spa) Team Saxo-Tinkoff