Analytics in Action – Stage 3Blog
Sagan proves too strong for his rivals
Dominating the final climb of the first hilly stage in the 2017 race, Peter Sagan (BOH) grabbed his eighth Tour de France stage win.
There are cycling champions … and then there’s Peter Sagan (BOH). Twice the World Champion and five-times winner of the points classification on the Tour de France, the Slovakian offered a masterclass in riding at the end of stage 3 at Longwy on Monday.
Accidentally unclipping from his pedal in the final kilometre didn't stop him from controlling a major attack from one of the strongest riders of the field, Richie Porte (BMC). And then he out-powered all other rivals as well. All of this at an average of 28.76km/h in the final climb up to the finish line: 1.6km at a 5.8% gradient.
The peloton was once again very cautious not to leave the break too much breathing room as the gap stabilised around 2' for most of the stage. A sequence of two mid-stage climbs eventually saw the break build the strongest lead of the day: just over 4’. Three more riders, including the attack machine Thomas De Gendt (LTS), joined them 57 km from the finish line to give the break a new lease on life. Still, there's virtually no holding off the peloton with long-range moves in the early days of the Tour. No matter how you play your cards, strong teamwork will almost always overcome breakaway efforts in the end.
Before displaying their grit on the final slopes, riders enjoyed much easier terrain in the first part of the stage, riding on the Formula 1 circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. Their speed couldn’t compare with the likes of F1 star Lewis Hamilton, who can easily hit 300 km/h … still, French champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) accelerated to a lightning fast 87.62km/h.
Key data highlights:
1.) On the exact same day a year ago, Peter Sagan (BOH) won stage 2 of the Tour on a very similar route.
2.) Sagan has featured on the podium in 29.6% of Le Tour stages he's raced in.
3.) After a relatively slow start, the bunch accelerated fiercely in the final 60km to reach an average of 41.5km/h on the 212.5km from Verviers to Longwy.
4.) Only two US riders have previously managed to lead the King of the Mountains classification in the 103-year history of the Tour. Yet, two have already done so in this year's race: Taylor Phinney (CDT) and now Nathan Brown (CDT).
5.) Belgium, Luxembourg, and now France: the peloton has travelled through three countries during stage 3 to finally reach the home nation of the world's greatest cycling event.
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