|In stage on the 2012 Tour de France, Liquigas-Cannondale's 2012 Slovak national road champion Peter Sagan, who is in his debut Tour de France, won his 1st stage at the 2012 Tour in a three man group that got away in the final two kilometers. The 22 year old from Slovakia out sprinted race leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) and Edvald Boasson Hagen (Sky Pro Cycling). Cancellara will begin stage two with yet again the yellow leader's jersey on his back.
The 198 kilometer road stage was lead by Pablo Urtasun (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Maxim Bouet (AG2R La Mondiale), Yohann Gène (Europcar), Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun), Michael Mørkøv (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank) and Nicolas Edet (Cofidis) until inside the final ten kilometers when the group of six was brought back into the charging peloton. The group built themselves a maximum advantage of over 4 minutes, 30 seconds in the first road stage of the 99th Tour de France, however, the peloton kept the gap steady at approximately 3:30.
While in the hunt to chase down the breakaway in the final 30 kilometers of the race, the peloton began to get nervous as they entered the finishing city of Seraing, Belgium. There were multiple crashes as they raced through the road of Belgium, one of the crashes took Rabobank's Luis Leon Sanchez out of contention for the stage. Movistar's JJ Rojas also went down in the crash.
As the peloton crept inside the final ten kilometers, the breakaway was caught and the peloton was led by Belgian cycling team Lotto-Belisol and Australia's Orica-GreenEdge team. In final final three kilometers, on the final climb up to the finish line, Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) set off the first attack, but with the grade increasing and still 2 kilometer remaining in the race, the attack didn't go far.
In the final 1 and 1/2 kilometer of the uphill finish, race leader Fabian Cancellara attacked the remaining of the peloton in his attempt to gain time on rivals in the general classification and perhaps claim back-to-back stage win glory, however, Peter Sagan found himself in the right place at the right time and followed the Cancellara attack. Sagan and Cancellara pushed away from the chasing peloton in the final kilometer while Edvald Boasson Hagen attempted to bridge the gap. In the final sprint for the line it was Liquigas-Cannondale's Sagan who claim the first road stage of the 99th edition of the Tour de France.
Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank's Michael Mørkøv won the Mountain's Classification points on three of the climbs in stage 1 to give the himself and team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank the polka dot best climber's jersey heading into stage two tomorrow. Peter Sagan will wear the green points jersey for the best sprinter in tomorrow's stage, although the green jersey officially belongs to race leader, Fabian Cancellara. American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing Team) keeps the white best young rider's jersey heading into stage two, he leads the classifications by 1 second ahead of Edvald Boasson Hagen. Sky Pro Cycling stills leads the Team Classification with a four second lead ahead of Cancellara's RadioShack-Nissan team.
Stage 1 Results
Liège - Seraing
1 Peter SAGAN SVK LIQ 4:58:19
2 Fabian CANCELLARA SUI RNT +0
3 Edvald BOASSON HAGEN NOR SKY +0
4 Philippe GILBERT BEL BMC +0
5 Bauke MOLLEMA NED RAB +0
6 Alejandro VALVERDE BELMONTE ESP MOV +0
7 Robert GESINK NED RAB +0
8 Daniel MARTIN IRL GRM +0
9 Ryder HESJEDAL CAN GRM +0
10 Dries DEVENYNS BEL OPQ +0
General Classification After Stage 1
1 Fabian CANCELLARA SUI RNT 5:05:32
2 Bradley WIGGINS GBR SKY +7
3 Sylvain CHAVANEL FRA OPQ +7
4 Tejay VAN GARDEREN USA BMC +10
5 Edvald BOASSON HAGEN NOR SKY +11
6 Denis MENCHOV RUS KAT +13
7 Philippe GILBERT BEL BMC +13
8 Cadel EVANS AUS BMC +17
9 Vincenzo NIBALI ITA LIQ +18
10 Ryder HESJEDAL CAN GRM +18
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