• World champion Sagan wins 212.5km stage between Verviers and Longwy
• Matthews second while Dan Martin came in third, Greg van Avermaet fourth
Since 2012 it has become increasingly clear that Peter Sagan is, as the French would say, un cas à part – in a class of his own. In sporting terms, the double world champion appears utterly impervious to pressure and can prove utterly unbeatable on his day, as was the case here in a carbon copy of his victory last year in Cherbourg. It is also true in terms of the image he projects.
Cycling has never seen anyone quite like the Slovak, whose strength cannot be matched in this kind of uphill finish, rising just under 100 metres in two kilometres, after a five-hour slog south, mainly into a headwind. At 300 metres to go, as he wound up for the sprint against Michael Matthews, Greg Van Avermaet, Daniel Martin and Arnaud Démare – all names to be reckoned with on their day – the cleat on his right shoe detached itself from his clipless pedal.
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