Peter Sagan has won his third stage of this year’s Tour de France and in doing so paid respect to retiring cycling legend Fabian Cancellara.
An arduous 209km stage raced in 30-degree heat, the race finished in Cancellara’s home city of Berne in Switzerland. Many had speculated on a fairytale finish for ‘Spartacus’. Taking a stage in his home town during his final Tour de France would have to be the sweetest of many victories during his 16-years in the pro peloton.
But it wasn’t to be. Although he was up there in front for the final sprint, he stormed in at 6th place alongside the current crop of powerhouses of the sport.
Crossing the line it was a photo finish for Peter Sagan and Alexander Kristoff. After the result the victor said “a lot of times I lose the race by this much and today I won.”
“I believe in destiny and today it’s turning back,” said Sagan.
“It was a very long stage, very hot and my teammates did a great job and pulled all day because we knew the final was good for me.”
Peter Sagan said with the race in its third and final week, it was dificult to say who was best for the fast finish required.
“I did my best and I think Alexander made a mistake in the jump for the line – I didn’t know I’d won, it’s was a nice surprise today,” he added.
For much of the stage – more than 190 km – it appeared German powerhouse Tony Martin was going to time trial his way from start to end.
With up and coming team mate Julian Alaphillipe in tow, the Ettix-Quick Step riders held a solo break for much of the race only to be reeled in with 10km to go.
Tour de France Stage 16
1. Peter Sagan Tinkoff 04:26:02
2. Alexander Kristoff Team Katusha
3. Sondre Holst Enger IAM Cycling
4. John Degenkolb Team Giant-Alpecin
5. Michael Matthews Orica-BikeExchange
6. Fabian Cancellara Trek – Segafredo