After a delightful interlude in Denmark, the Tour de France made its return to France today, with Peter Sagan marking the occasion by turning in another top 10 finish.
Back in France
The peloton, still 176 racers strong, was back on French soil in far northern France. Tuesday brought the potential for another group finish by the sprinters before they tackle the dreaded cobbles stage on Wednesday.
As he did on home territory in Denmark, Magnus Cort Nielsen dazzled by once again pulling away from the pack within the first few kilometers. But this time he wasn’t making his climbs alone: Anthony Perez (Cofidis) proved a robust companion. The peloton let the two leaders strike out on their own, taking a lead of 7’15”.
Sagan lying in wait
Perez pulled ahead of his companion to launch a solo bid for the win. But the peloton crushed his hopes. The race took a new turn on the Côte du Blanc-Nez, when the Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma teams stepped up the pace. Their efforts gave Wout van Aert, wearing the yellow jersey, a chance to pull out ahead of the pack, with his pursuers unable to make up the difference. Van Aert notched his seventh stage win on the Tour de France. The peloton then fought for the runner-up spots, with Peter Sagan managing to eke out a fifth-place finish: his third top 10 performance in this year’s Tour.
“As you could tell, it was difficult for everyone,” said Sagan after today’s stage. “It was a fairly fast sprint. I was in a good position, but I didn’t feel as good today as I have on other days.”