Stage three: Peter Sagan gets it wrong – but not wrong enough
It’s hard to explain why Peter Sagan’s win was so impressive. He only bested Michael Matthews by about half a metre – so why was it such a big deal?
It boils down to this: Michael Matthews did everything perfectly. Peter Sagan made a right balls of things.
And Sagan won.
So what happened?
With 350m to go, the finest climbers in the world were lined out, riding at their limit, mouths open, giving it their all.
Peter Sagan was sitting there, cruising along, looking back at them all.
He was just hovering there, seemingly effortlessly, poised to start sprinting only when someone looked like coming past him.
When that eventually happened, he stood on the pedals and… accidentally unclipped.
The road was still uphill at this point, so even though he clipped in again a pedal revolution later, he lost momentum and had to restart his sprint in what was essentially the wrong gear.
And he still won.
He certainly earned his Gold Bears.
Green jersey standings
Marcel Kittel is still in the lead, largely because his fully-flat stage win brought 20 more points than Sagan’s slight-less-flat stage win.
Tour de France point rationing is a bit mental.
Anything else to report?
Not really. Of the overall contenders, Dan Martin managed a highly impressive third place and although he gained all of two seconds in actual time, it also brought him a four second bonus. Everyone else finished together except for Simon Yates, who was a further eight seconds back.
200-plus kilometres for the third day on the bounce. What these first few days have lacked in gradients, they’ve certainly made up for in distance covered.
Should be a slightly weary sprint finish.