Sagan wins Tour's 13th stage, Thomas still in yellow

Dan Martin is up to 13th in the overall classification meanwhile.

SLOVAKIAN PETER SAGAN, of the Bora team, claimed his third win of the 105th Tour de France on Friday after sprinting to victory on the 13th stage.

Britain’s Geraint Thomas, fresh from winning two stages in the Alps, remained in the yellow jersey at the end of a 169.5km ride from Bourg d’Oisans to Valence that finished in a bunch sprint.

Welshman Thomas leads Sky teammate Chris Froome by 1min 39secs, with Dutchman Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) third overall at 1:50.

Dan Martin finished in 29th position and has moved up to ninth in the GC.

France Cycling Tour de France Christophe Ena The pack passes during the thirteenth stage of the Tour de France. Christophe Ena

Sagan, of the Bora team, is one of the few real sprint specialists still in the race after surviving an Alpine stage trilogy that proved fatal to the hopes of rivals Mark Cavendish, Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, Dylan Groenewegen and Fernando Gaviria.

All the aforementioned exited the race over two tough days in the Alps, and Sagan — who had won two stages on this edition so far — was quick to capitalise.

“It was very beautiful to win today after three days in the Alps,” said Sagan, whose 11th stage win on the race helped take his tally in the points competition to 398 points.

Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (UAE), who finished a close second, has 170 while Frenchman Arnaud Demare, of Groupama, has 133.

I was on the wheel of (Alexander) Kristoff, then I made my move. But it wasn’t easy for me.

“The team did a great job, but in the last kilometre I was maybe in 20th or 25th position, so I had to sprint to get back up to the front.”

Sagan was given extra work after Belgian upstart Philippe Gilbert (Quick Step) brazenly attacked a leading peloton full of ambitious sprinters 930 metres from the line.

But Sagan, and his rivals didn’t flinch.

They kept the pace high and one-day classics specialist Gilbert was caught, much to his dismay, with 245m remaining.

The Groupama team of Demare, as well as Kristoff’s UAE outfit had been key in chasing down a relatively tame four-man breakaway in the closing kilometres of the race.

But the Frenchman came up short when it came to payback.

He launched his burst first, but, as Kristoff and Sagan came up on his left, Demare ran out of juice.

I thought I was going to win, I started my sprint well but I came up short. Sagan was too strong,” he said.

Sagan now has one hand on a sixth green jersey, and one eye now on winning the final stage to the Champs Elysees.

But the 28-year-old Slovakian star, who on Thursday announced his impending divorce from his wife Katarina, won’t be performing any of his trademark wheelies just yet.

“There’s a lot of tough stages to do before we get to” the Champs Elysees, said Sagan.

“I have to be a bit closer to Paris before I start doing a wheelie.”

© AFP 2018 

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