Peter Sagan finishing in second place has become a familiar sight in recent years. That result doesn’t tell the story of his manful riding on the road to Revel.
In one of the most star-studded breaks in recent Tour history, the world champion did the lion’s share, chasing down various bids for breakaways in the tense finale.
Orica-Bike Exchange and Michael Matthews may have had the decisive numerical advantage, but Sagan underlined why he is the ultimate green jersey contender. Tinkoff’s super-talent can compete in the first week’s flat gallops and crucially infiltrate mountain breakaways.
Today’s strange stage, that went over the 2016 Tour’s highest point and finished in flat agricultural land, was perfect territory for a freak like Sagan. He took an intermediate sprint unchallenged and nearly nicked another stage.
In total, 45 maillot vert points without response from a rival means he’ll be swapping rainbow stripes for a green jersey he is unlikely to relinquish before Paris. Sagan lost the battle, but he ought to win that particular war – and he’s today’s Top Banana.