Tour de France rookie Peter Sagan won his second stage in three days after a day marred by at least three pile-ups. One of race favorite Bradley Wiggins’s teammates withdrew injured.
Sagan, a 22-year-old Slovak with the Liquigas team, won by about 20 meters after the 122-mile hilly ride between Orchies and Boulogne-sur-Mer. He kept the green jersey as leader of the points classification.
Switzerland’s Fabian Cancellara maintained the race-leading yellow jersey after finishing near the front of the 92-rider peloton. He has a seven-second lead over Wiggins and Sylvain Chavanel, who were in the group along with defending champion Cadel Evans.
Wiggins’ Team Sky teammate Kanstantsin Siutsou was the first of the 198 riders to quit the race after a crash on a narrow country road with 32 miles left today.
Garmin’s Tyler Farrar and Euskaltel’s Pablo Urtasun needed medical treatment, although were able to continue. Some riders carried their bikes along a grass verge to pass the cyclists receiving medical attention on the tarmac.
Jose Joaquin Rojas of the Movistar team abandoned the race in another crash on a rural lane with 18 miles left. Garmin’s Christian Vande Velde also went down.
“It was quite crazy at the end of the stage: flat wheels, crashes, everything,” Farrar told Eurosport. “We rode ourselves to death” to bring Vande Velde back to the peloton after he crashed, Farrar said.
Team Saxo Bank’s Michael Morkov, in his third breakaway in as many days, and Astana’s Andriy Grivko were the last of the leading group to be caught by the peloton with a few miles remaining.
Chavanel of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team raced into the lead on the final descent, although it was Sagan who prevailed by sprinting uphill to the finish line.
A few riders were caught up in another crash on the hill.
The 20-stage race continues tomorrow with a 133-mile ride between Abbeville and Rouen. About half of the flat terrain is along France’s northern coastline.
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