Battle of Almost Men in Rodez.
Two hard luck cases went head to head in the final 250 meters uphill into Rodez. Perennial second Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) and Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). Two Nearly Men on a mission.
One of them was going to break the bad luck, runner-up status and it was Van Avermaet who made the smaller mistake than Sagan and therefore won the stage. The Belgian rider admitted afterwards that he went early to make up for going too late during the first week of the Tour on the Mur du Huy.
But that was nothing compared to Sagan’s error of judgement.
His mistake — and that was the word he used — was to sit come up to Avermaet’s rear wheel and sit down on his saddle for a moment. With the crushing heat and the nasty grade, he couldn’t get his legs going again. It was almost sad to watch him push on the accelerator and have nothing much happen.
A superior sprinter, Sagan should have taken the stage and put a momentary stop to the I-Paid-Too-Much-For-Sagan jokes his team owner Oleg Tinkoff likes to tell. The Russian tycoon still fired off a tweet of disgust: I ——- crashed my Bang&Olufsen TV set. The team was working hard, he was well positioned, but…no karma,”
It appears that Sagan and his captain Alberto Contador are both having trouble finding the snap in their legs. The Spaniard can claim Giro Fatigue but Sagan doesn’t have the same excuse.
What he does have is the green jersey back on his shoulders. It was a consolation prize for what is not three or four runner-up finishes in this year’s Tour. In his press quotes he could barely work up any enthusiasm for — like he’s won a ham sandwich or a new weed whacker. The man just wasn’t interested, all he could think about was Rodez royally botched.
“I don’t like if I lose due to my legs. I can accept that. But today I waited too long. I got on Greg’s wheel and sat down and then I ran out of legs. It’s not bad luck. That was my mistake because I needed to carry on pushing so that I could win,” said Sagan. If Saxo-Tinkoff and BMC both invite you to dinner, go with BMC because they’ll be in a much better mood.
Stage 13, Tour de France, lucky for Van Avermaet, unlucky for Sagan.