Peter Sagan returns to winning ways on back of cracking team effort

Dan Martin remains eighth overall after stage 10 of Giro d’Italia

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan celebrates on the podium after winning stage 10  of the Giro d’Italia  between l’Aquila and Foligno. Photograph:  by Luca Bettini/AFP via Getty Images

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan celebrates on the podium after winning stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia between l’Aquila and Foligno. Photograph: by Luca Bettini/AFP via Getty Images

 

Triple world champion Peter Sagan continued his return towards peak fitness on Monday, winning stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia in Foligno. The Slovakian contracted Covid 19 in late January and was below his usual form in the spring Classics, but clocked up the second Giro stage win of his career with a powerful gallop to the line.

Sagan’s Bora-hansgrohe team did an impressive amount the work during the stage, burning off some key rivals and then driving the pace to keep the bunch together.

Sagan then made his move inside the final 500 metres, closing down an early jump by Juan Sebastián Molano (UAE Team Emirates) and then whipping past the Colombian. Molano’s team-mate was positioned on Sagan’s wheel but was unable to draw level, netting second, while David Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) was similarly outpaced for third.

“Today was a very good day for us,” said Sagan. “We tried our best. I say thanks to all my team-mates, they did an impressive job. They went full gas on the last two climbs and dropped some sprinters. It was not enough to drop everyone, but in the end I won and I am happy for that.”

Sagan placed fifth, third and fourth in the opening five days of the race. He was asked what made the difference on Monday’s stage that he was finally able to win.

“I missed some luck,” he said. “The other day when Caleb [Ewan] won his second stage, I was very good. It was uphill, I had very good legs. I started from a little bit back, I had very good speed but after that I was closed in on the barriers. Luckily I didn’t crash. Today I am very happy to win a stage like this. I think it was a great job by all the team.”

The stage featured undulating terrain for the first two thirds of the 139 kilometre distance, including the fourth category climb of Valico della Somma, which crested 38 kilometres from the finish. Sagan’s Bora-hansgrohe team set a daunting pace on the uphills to haul back a five-man breakaway and also to thin things out, something overall race leader Egan Bernal referenced after the stage.

“It was actually really hard. Bora did a really great job into the climb,” he said. “They did a really, really hard pace. I think everyone was full gas. It was harder than we expected this morning.”

Bora-hansgrohe continued to set the pace in the finale, although other teams pushed forward for the day’s intermediate sprint with 17 kilometres to go. Bernal’s team-mate Filippo Ganna drove hard to try to carry the Colombian clear for the bonus seconds, but the rider in second overall, Remco Evenepoel (Deceuninck-QuickStep), chased hard and managed to get past Bernal, reducing his deficit by one second.

The Belgian heads into the race’s first rest day on Tuesday 14 seconds back, while the Russian Alexandr Vlasov (Astana-Premier Tech) is 22 seconds behind.

Ireland’s Dan Martin (Israel Start Up Nation) and Nicolas Roche (Team DSM) both finished as part of the main bunch, receiving the same stage time as Sagan, Bernal, Evenepoel and the others. Martin remains a fine eighth overall and is 52 seconds behind Bernal. Roche, who has had to perform team duties in the race rather than aiming for personal success, is 64th.

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