Contador's hopes dented, Sagan takes lead with stage win

Sun Jul 3, 2016 1:01pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

CHERBOURG, France (Reuters) - Alberto Contador's Tour de France chances took another knock on Sunday as the Spaniard lost time to the big favorites, crashing for the second time in as many days during the second stage won by his team mate and world champion Peter Sagan.

Slovak Sagan perfectly timed his effort in the final climb to pip France's Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx-Quick Step) and Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and take the overall leader's yellow jersey from Mark Cavendish.

"The team worked well, it's great to wear the yellow jersey. I'm a bit sad for Alberto but he is alright. He is strong," said Sagan.

Contador, who fell off his bike 60 kilometers into the 183-km ride from Saint Lo, crossed the finish line 48 seconds behind Sagan and the other top guns with the exception of Australian Richie Porte (BMC).

Australian Porte, another podium contender, suffered a puncture in the finale and lost 1:45.

"I lost more time than I had hoped to lose. I suffered another crash, I hit the handlebars and I was hurt on the other side from yesterday. I must stay calm, not lose morale, I'm still standing but I have been really touched," the 33-year-old Contador said.

"The Tour has really started on the wrong footing. I'm not happy at all. It's cycling. I must see if I can make up some time in the Pyrenees and the Alps, see what I can do. I'm physically hampered. I cannot pedal as I would like to as a result of crashes.

"The important thing is to keep my morale, not fall apart, which is sometimes complicated. Both legs are very touched."   Continued...

Cycling - Tour de France cycling race - Stage 2 from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, France - 03/07/2016 - Tinkoff rider Peter Sagan of Slovakia wins on the finish line.     REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier