Cycling: Sagan wins second Tour stage
(CNN) — Slovakian Peter Sagan made it two wins from three Tour de France stages Tuesday as he triumphed in the 197km leg between Orchies and Boulogne-sur-Mer.
The Liquigas rider cruised home in the final 100m of a stage littered with crashes that saw Switzerland’s RadioShack rider Fabian Cancellara maintain his overall lead with an impressive performance.
Britain’s Bradley Wiggins, riding for Team Sky, was caught up in one of the race’s incidents but ensured the gap between himself and Cancellara remained seven seconds. France’s Sylvain Chavanel is tied for time in third.
Cancellara fared better in the six-climb stage that many had expected, finishing fourth behind fellow Slovak Peter Velits and Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen.
But it was 22-year-old Sagan who continued his stellar year after claiming multiple stage wins in the Tour of California and the Tour of Switzerland.
“After my wins in California and Switzerland I hoped to come here and win a few stages,” he told reporters. “Now it’s done and I’m very happy.
Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates while crossing the finish line Tuesday taking his second stage win of the Tour on July 3. The 99th Tour de France, which weaves through the mountains and cobblestone roads of France and nearby countries, consists of 22 teams with nine riders each and runs through July 22.
Overall race leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, in yellow jersey, rides in main group during Tuesday’s 197 kilometer (122 mile) stage.
Fans wave the French flag as the peleton, led by team Radioshack, rides past.
France’s Thomas Voeckler grimaces during one of the courses many climbs on Tuesday.
The peloton, the main group of riders, descends a hill during the third stage of the Tour de France 2012.
France’s Sebastien Minard, left, and Denmark’s Michael Morkov, in the polka-dot jersey, lead a breakaway in the third stage of the 2012 Tour de France.
Bradley Wiggins, left, rides with teammates from Britain’s Sky cycling team, wearing yellow helmets for the best team standings.
Tour de France 2011 winner, Australia’s Cadel Evans, rides in the third stage of the 2012 Tour de France cycling race on Tuesday.
Sky Procycling team rider Mark Cavendish of Britain arrives for the start of the third stage of the race on Tuesday.
Fabian Cancellara of Team RadioShack-Nissan arrives for the start of the third stage of the Tour de France 2012 cycling race, 197 kilometers (122 miles) from Orchies to Boulogne-sur-Mer, France, on Tuesday.
Fans cheer on riders as they climb the Cote de la Citadelle de Namur (Climb of Namur Citadel) during the second stage of the Tour de France in Belgium on Monday, July 2.
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland holds the yellow jersey and overall race lead going into the second stage, third day of racing, Monday.
A spectator sits along the course Monday in Belgium, where stage 2 of the race covers 129 miles from Vise to Tournai and is relatively flat.
Three riders broke away from the main group early including, from left to right: Anthony Roux of France, Michael Morkov of Denmark and Christophe Kern of France, shown Monday.
The main group of riders quickly fell several minutes behind the breakaway group as they traveled along Belgian roads Monday.
The main group of riders, referred to as the peloton, races through the countryside Monday.
Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates on the finish line as he wins stage one of the Tour de France, just ahead of overall race leader Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, on Sunday, July 1, in Seraing, Belgium.
Cancellara, wearing the yellow jersey, rides alongside Cadel Evans of Australia, second from left, and Frank Schleck of Luxembourg, left, on Sunday.
The large pack of riders, known as the peloton, follows the official Tour de France vehicle at the beginning of Sunday’s portion of the race.
A spectator waves the Belgian flag as fans wait for riders to pass along the stage one route on Sunday.
A group of six riders including Nicolas Edet of France, left, broke away from the main group very early in the race. The riders were able to maintain a gap of several minutes until they were eventually caught about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the finish line on Sunday.
The peloton travels along a narrow road through the Belgian countryside on Sunday.
Fans wait on the roadside for the almost 200 riders to pass during stage one on Sunday.
Fans peer over a railing as riders crest a small hill on Sunday.
Anthony Delaplace of France leads the six riders in the breakaway group on Sunday.
The peloton begins the final climb of Sunday’s stage, called the Cote de Seraing, as riders near the finish of the 198-kilometer (123-mile) course.
Peter Sagan of Slovakia, right, sprints to victory at the finish line Sunday ahead of Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, left, and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway, center.
Overall race leader Fabian Cancellara embraces former Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx after Sunday’s stage.
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland lunges out of the starting gate for the individual time trial and first test in the 2012 Tour de France in Liege, Belgium, on Saturday, June 30.
Cycling fans sit on a bronze statue in the town of Liege, Belgium, to get a glimpse of the individual time trial on Saturday.
Nicki Sorensen of Denmark eyes the finish line as he nears the completion of the 6.4 kilometer (4 miles) course on Saturday.
Sylvain Chavanel of France rounds a sharp turn on the course in Liege on Saturday.
Bradley Wiggins of Britain sprints to the finish line on Saturday.
A performer, wearing a hat decorated with toy cyclists, poses for spectators on Saturday.
Andriy Grivko of Ukraine grimaces as he nears the finish line, cheered on by fans.
Cadel Evans of Austraila, last year’s Tour winner, rounds a turn during the time trial. He finished witih the 13th best time.
Cancellara, who won the prologue with an individual time trial time of 7 minutes 13 seconds, sprints to the finish on Saturday.
Cancellara celebrates on the podium Saturday and pulls on the yellow jersey, worn by the overall race leader.
Tour de France 2012: The best photos
“Today I knew the sprinters wouldn’t be there at the finish and it ended up with (Ivan) Basso and (Vincenzo) Nibali working for me! I would shine Basso’s shoes if he asked, so I really can’t say thank you enough to him.
“Two stages is good for me and I want the green jersey in Paris now. That’s my objective.”
Wiggins’ bid for his first Tour de France crown suffered a blow when teammate Kanstantsin Sivtsov was forced out of the Tour after a crash 50km from home.
It leaves Sky a man down in their bid to help Wiggins to the yellow jersey, but team principal Dave Brailsford said they could still get the job done.
“It’s a setback, but not a devastating setback,” Brailsford told reporters. “He’a a very good climber so he can do that first part in the key mountain stages. But to be honest the climbing department, as it were, is probably where we’re at our strongest.
“It’s a real shame, but not the end of the world. It’s like boxing — as long as you’re still fighting you can knock the other fella out. That’s the approach you’ve got to take to it.”
The fourth stage on Wednesday is a 214km ride from Abbeville to Rouen.