Frustrated Sagan takes issue with van Aert after dramatic bunch sprint

Peter Sagan's fury towards race leader Wout van Aert was on full display at the end of stage three as the yellow jersey holder appeared to obstruct the final sprint of the TotalEnergies rider.

109th Tour de France 2022 - Stage 3

SONDERBORG, DENMARK - JULY 03: Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Total Energies and Wout Van Aert of Belgium and Team Jumbo - Visma Yellow Leader Jersey react after the victory of Dylan Groenewegen of Netherlands and Team BikeExchange - Jayco (R) during the 109th Tour de France 2022, Stage 3 a 182km stage from Vejle to Sønderborg / #TDF2022 / #WorldTour / on July 03, 2022 in Sonderborg, Denmark. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images) Credit: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Sagan made his feelings towards GC leader van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) very clear on Sunday (AEST) after the third stage of the Tour de France culminated in a tense bunch sprint to the finish line - one which saw Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco-BikeExchange) claim the stage victory and van Aert appear to block Sagan's attack on the home stretch.

A red-faced Sagan waved his finger at van Aert on the finish line in response, indicating that the yellow jersey holder was to blame for Sagan's sixth-placed finish as van Aert's attack left the TotalEnergies rider boxed in against the barricade.
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Despite the disappointment of an interrupted final sprint, Sagan claimed that the finish was a positive outcome for his team as the rider combated a "very nervous" peloton in the final 30 kilometres of the race.

"It was essential to be placed at the front of the peloton, well protected and surrounded by my Team TotalEnergies teammates who did an exceptional job in keeping me safe from the crashes," Sagan said.

"I was well-positioned for the final sprint and I believe that the sixth place obtained is a sign that the progression of my physical condition is on the right track. However, we must still remain cautious and keep working hard every day."

Whilst Sagan was left to vent his frustration at van Aert, the race leader in turn was left angry at himself despite taking both the yellow and green jerseys to France ahead of stage four.

The 27-year-old appeared to be in prime position as he led at the final turn before veering slightly to the right, allowing speedster Groenewegen to split the gap between van Aert and fellow Belgian Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin–Fenix) to cross the line first in a photo finish.
The result was van Aert's third second-placed finish in as many stages.

"Another second place is not so much fun anymore," van Aert said.

"The lead-out from Christophe (Laporte) was perfect, but I started my sprint a bit too early. I might have won if I had stayed in his slipstream a bit longer. That's a mistake.

"The yellow makes up for these second places, but I disappointed myself a bit today."

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3 min read
Published 4 July 2022 at 1:44pm
By SBS Sport
Source: SBS