July 2, 2012 in Sports

Cancellara maintains early lead in Tour de France

Jamey Keaten Associated Press
 

Sagan
(Full-size photo)

Tour de France

Stage 1

Stage: 123 miles, featuring a hilly route and a steep climb to the finish in Liege.

Winner: Peter Sagan of Slovakia, who claimed his maiden win at the Tour after defeating Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway in a sprint.

Yellow Jersey: Fabian Cancellara leads Bradley Wiggins of Britain by 7 seconds overall.

Today’s stage: 129-mile flat stage from Vise to Tournai in Belgium likely to end in a bunch sprint.

SERAING, Belgium – Rising cycling star Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the first stage of the Tour de France on Sunday ahead of Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, who retained the overall lead.

Defending champion Cadel Evans and fellow title contender Bradley Wiggins of Britain trailed close behind in the pack after the 123-mile loop from Liege to suburban Seraing featuring five low-grade climbs.

Sagan, at age 22 one of cycling’s most promising riders, placed his hands on his shoulders as he collected his first Tour stage win in a three-man sprint ahead of Cancellara, who was second, and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway in third.

Cancellara, who won the Tour’s opening-day prologue, leads Wiggins in the overall standings by 7 seconds. France’s Sylvain Chavanel is third with the same time. Evans is 17 seconds behind the Swiss leader.

The 198-rider pack split up during a final climb, when the stage turned into a three-man race. Sagan hugged the wheel of Cancellara then whipped around him less than 150 yards before the finish to win in 4 hours, 58 minutes, 19 seconds.

“I am really, really happy,” Sagan said. “I was the only one who could follow (Cancellara). I was tight behind him. I was just happy to stay on his wheel.”

Wiggins wore the best sprinter’s green jersey after placing second in Saturday’s prologue – an honor granted to him because Cancellara cannot wear both the green and the yellow jersey.

© Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Get stories like this in a free daily email


Please keep it civil. Don't post comments that are obscene, defamatory, threatening, off-topic, an infringement of copyright or an invasion of privacy. Read our forum standards and community guidelines.

You must be logged in to post comments. Please log in here or click the comment box below for options.

comments powered by Disqus