Liquigas rider Peter Sagan sprung a massive surprise on the peloton today, as he launched a gutsy attack 1.9km out, and buried himself to stay ahead and claim a second stage win.
A tight left turn and a narrow plunge under a railway track distracted the bunch and the steep uphill after was the perfect springboard for the 20-year-old Slovakian. He followed Christophe Le Mevel’s wheel as the FranÃƒÂ§aise des Jeux rider jumped, but soon outstripped the Frenchman.
The pain was evident on his face as the peloton, in disarray, tried and failed to chase him back. This second stage win in his debut Paris-Nice more than makes up for the tricky, steep hill-top finish yesterday where he lost ground to many of his more experienced rivals.
“That kid is going to be more epic than Rapha,” a Liquigas team insider may (or may not) have said as they watched the former junior mountain-biking world champion recover in a heap on the ground.
Provisional standings after stage 5, Pernes-les-Fontaines – Aix-en-Provence.
1. Alberto Contador (AST)
2. Alejandro Valverde (GCE Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ +20″)
3. Roman Kreuziger (LIQ)
4. Luis LÃƒÂ©on Sanchez (GCE)
5. Samuel Sanchez (EUS)
6. Jens Voigt (SAX)
7. Joaquin Rodriguez (GCE)
8. Peter Sagan (GRM)