Second in sprint finale for Peter Sagan on first Tour of Slovakia road stage
After yesterday’s short and sharp prologue, the Tour of Slovakia hit the country’s open roads. The 158.4km parcours started and finished in Košice, with four categorised climbs to contend with, the first starting almost the moment the day started, and multiple attacks tried to use this climb to their advantage in an attempt to form the day’s breakaway. Finally, eight riders managed to create a gap, with this group’s lead starting at two minutes, rising to three minutes after 60km of racing. It was here that BORA-hansgrohe took over at the front of the peloton and the gap started falling steadily, with this coming down by a minute as the race hit the 50km to go point. From this point, the pressure of the chasing bunch saw the break start to fall apart as they strived to maintain their advantage. With the last 30km either downhill or flat, the bunch knew they could make the catch and would be aiming to end the day with a bunch sprint, Patrick Gamper leading the peloton as the race entered its final 15km. The gap was down to fourteen seconds as the escape group hit the final 10km but any hope the break might have had for taking the win was dashed when they were swept up with just less than 5km remaining. From here, the sprint trains worked to control the peloton, with Peter Sagan protected well by Maciej Bodnar, the Polish rider calmly using his time trial skills to maintain a strong pace, and Daniel Oss leading Peter into the final kilometre. Peter was working hard to create space and put the power down hard, squeezing through between the barriers and his rivals, but was just unable to take out the one remaining rider, the Slovak national champion taking second on the line. Strong performances yesterday and today also put Peter second in the overall classification.
01 A.Hodeg 3h34’38”
02 P.Sagan + 0:00
03 R.Janse van Rensburg + 0:00
From the Finish Line
"Very fast stage today where the guys did their best to make sure the breakaway was kept under control and didn't make it all the way to the finish line. I had the legs and the form today for the sprint finish but in the last turn, I chose to take the left side of the road instead of the right, which proved to be the winning option. Congratulations to Alvarito for his victory, he got a nice birthday present today." – Peter Sagan
"Today, the entire team worked for Peter. We controlled the race from the start, together with Deceuninck-Quickstep as well, in order to make sure we got to a bunch sprint. We knew the climb would be hard, so we made a selection, forming a reduced leading group of about 50 riders for the sprint and we caught the last breakaway a few kilometres from the finish. The guys worked very well, Frederik at the start of the stage, then Juraj took over and pulled in the front, leaving Patrick, Maciej, and Daniel for the final part and the sprint. We did a good job and Peter took second on the line." – Jan Valach, Sports Director