Slovakian Peter Sagan showcased his sprint skills to lay claim to the 13th stage of the Tour de France and to stretch his almost-insurmountable lead in the race for the green jersey awarded to the top sprinter.
Bora team rider Peter Sagan powered to victory on the charge back down the Alps from Bourg d'Oisans to Valence on Friday.
"It was very beautiful to win today after three days in the Alps," Sagan said. "I was on the wheel of [Alexander] Kristoff, then I made my move. It's amazing. The team did an amazing job today." Kristoff finsihed the stage in second.
Not only did Sagan claim outright stage victory, he's also one of the very few veritable sprint specialists to survive three grueling stages in the Alps without falling so far behind that he's eliminated from the race. Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel and Dylan Groenewegen have all dropped out of the Tour in the last few days, making Sagan's virtually unassailable lead in the sprinters' green jersey scoreboard look even more secure.
Sagan has 398 points in the sprint stakes; his nearest challenger Kristoff has 170. Victory this year would be Sagan's sixth Tour de France sprinter's crown.
Thomas in yellow, Team Sky in control
In the race for the overall leader's yellow jersey, the major players held station on Friday. Geraint Thomas remains in the overall lead, with a 99-second advantage over his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome.
Despite Froome's status as team leader, Thomas said after the stage: "I hope to keep the jersey as long as possible. But it's a three-week race, and the Pyrenees are going to be even tougher."
Saturday's 14th stage is a tricky and technical 188-kilometer (117-mile) ride from Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux to Mende.
msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)