Sagan announces arrival with win | other | Hindustan Times
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Sagan announces arrival with win

other Updated: Jul 02, 2012 00:39 IST

Slovakia's Peter Sagan confirmed he was the most promising rider in the world peloton when he won the first stage of his first Tour de France on Sunday.

The 22-year-old Liquigas rider surged ahead in the tricky finale of the 198-km ride from Liege, on the wheel of prologue winner Fabian Cancellara, to snatch his 14th victory of the season. Norway's Edvald Boasson Hagen was third just ahead of the bunch.

Cancellara retained his overall leader's yellow jersey, with a seven-second lead over Briton Bradley Wiggins.

"It was a good day today, the finale was very hard. I knew Cancellara would attack so I stayed behind him. I did not overtake him before the final stretch because he was riding so fast," Sagan said.

The Slovakian, who won two stages in Paris-Nice two years ago, rode his first big Tour last year in the Spanish Vuelta, winning three stages.

The former mountain biker moved up another gear this season by winning five stages in the Tour of California and four in the recent Tour of Switzerland.

Sagan's chances in Saturday's prologue had been ruined when his foot skidded off his pedals and he narrowly avoided crashing. The last three kilometres of Sunday's stage were up a short and steep hill on which France's Sylvain Chavanel was the first to attack. Cancellara immediately followed suit, but the Swiss could not drop Sagan, who stuck to his wheel until the final stretch.

Monday's third stage takes the peloton from Vise to Tournai over 207.5 kms.

Cancellara, who won the opening-day prologue, leads Wiggins overall by 7 seconds. France's Sylvain Chavanel is third with the same time.

Evans is 17 seconds behind the Swiss leader.