LONGWY, France (AP) — Shaking off an tools glitch within the livid ending dash, Peter Sagan bagged his eighth profession Tour de France stage victory on Monday with a formidable show of energy and quick-thinking on a brief, sharp closing uphill sprint.

Geraint Thomas of Crew Sky retained the yellow jersey he is held for the reason that opening stage in Germany, because the race swung into France, to the previous metal city of Longwy. However he isn’t planning to carry onto it for ever: The crew’s objective is for three-time champion Chris Froome to be carrying the jersey when the Tour rolls into Paris on July 23.

Thomas and Froome received by means of Stage three unscathed, the principle objective for them and others eyeing general victory somewhat than stage wins.

The pack of riders stretched like a chunk of string into single file on the quick, winding downhill into Longwy earlier than the ultimate climb on Nuns’ Hill that appeared tailored for the strengths of Sagan, the world champion.

Australian rider Richie Porte, a contender for general victory, confirmed he is in fearsome kind by powering away from the pack within the first levels of the climb. However Sagan was watching intently behind him and by no means let Porte get too far forward.

Sagan gave the impression to be cruising to victory till his proper foot slipped out of his pedal in the previous few hundred meters.

“I mentioned to myself, ‘What’s occurring?'” the Slovak star of the German Bora-Hansgrohe crew mentioned.

However he shortly recovered with out dropping pace, clipping his foot again into place and holding off to the road Michael Matthews, an Australian with Sunweb, and Dan Martin, an Irishman with Quickstep.

Froome was ninth on the stage, exhibiting no obvious unwanted effects from a crash on moist roads on Sunday that shaved pores and skin off his buttocks. He moved up from sixth to second general, 12 seconds behind Thomas.

Though a mere pace bump in comparison with the mountain ascents to return within the Alps and Pyrenees, the 1.6-kilometer (one-mile) uphill in Longwy, with a brief very steep part, was testing sufficient to offer an early inkling of the health of among the prime riders. Porte, who was once a teammate of Froome’s at Sky earlier than switching to BMC, impressed along with his assault.

“It confirmed that he is in nice kind and can at all times look to make use of his legs to realize a while,” Thomas mentioned.

Porte completed the stage in the identical group as Froome and Thomas — two seconds behind Sagan and different riders who went all out for the stage win. Porte, who’s 35 seconds behind Froome general, was happy to check his legs.

“It is good for the boldness simply to have a little bit of a crack,” Porte mentioned.

Different general contenders who completed in the identical group included Nairo Quintana, a three-time podium finisher, former two-time winner Alberto Contador, and Romain Bardet, runner-up final yr to Froome. A sterner take a look at of their relative strengths will come on Wednesday on a more durable climb to the Planche des Belles Filles ski station.

For the second, their important objective will not be crashing and dropping time. That was simpler mentioned than achieved because the pack picked up the tempo towards the tip of what in any other case was a reasonably leisurely 212.5-kilometer (132-mile) trip by means of the dense forests and plunging valleys of the Ardennes, from Belgium, by means of Luxembourg to France.

The final hour “was a hell of a battle,” Porte mentioned. “It was fairly a harmful difficult closing, so it is good to get by means of that one unscathed.”

Along with his lengthy hair, fast humor and style for showmanship, Sagan is without doubt one of the Tour’s most colourful characters. His final objective is to win, for a sixth consecutive time, the inexperienced jersey. It is not as coveted because the yellow one however remains to be a stable measure of general power.

For the second, nevertheless, Sagan deliberate to permit himself a celebratory drink.

“You have to have a good time each victory,” he mentioned. “But when I drink alone they name me a drunkard. I want to drink with my teammates.”

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AP Sports activities Author Andrew Dampf contributed from Longwy.

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