Peter Sagan of Tinkoff notched his third win in this Tour de France with the most exquisitely timed bike throw we’ve seen outside the track.
After dealing with the little cobbled climb, he came from behind to beat Katyusha’s Alexander Kristoff by a millimeter, the width of a human hair, a handful of molecules. Both riders threw their bike forward and from the live coverage it appeared the Norwegian has just pipped Sagan, as his raised his arm in celebration.
The photo finish camera showed a different winner as Sagan added to his impressive lead in the green jersey competition. He’s just one win away from equaling his four stage victors in the 2012 Tour de France after several dry years.
The finish was custom spec’d for the World Champion with the rainbow stripes — there was plenty of road furniture, roundabouts, tight corners and cobblestones. Those tricky variables all favor a rider like Sagan with exceptional bike handling skills. Throw in the final bike throw and bang, podium, zip up green jersey for another day, adoring kiss from sexy wife and glass or two of champagne.
What Sagan has also done with three big wins in this edition of Le Grand Shindig is erase people’s memories. It wasn’t so long ago that critics assailed Sagan for his lack of tactical abilities. They also faulted his old Liquigas squad for questionable support and direction of the young phenom. People wondered aloud whether Sagan would every figure out how to read a race successfully.
All that noise has been washed away. It was a sentiment that Sagan himself mentioned in his post stage remarks — the idea that everything comes around eventually — in years past, he was always in second place, never the winner. Now, he’s on a roll from the World Championships, Tour of Flanders, Gent Wevelgem, Tour de Suisse, Tour of California to the biggest theater stage of all, Le Tour de France.
Sagan, three Tour wins, negative memories gone.