Sagan wins fifth stage, Alaphilippe retains lead
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan kept enough strength in reserve in the hills of Alsace to win a reduced bunch sprint for his 12th overall Tour de France stage win on Wednesday. France’s Julian Alaphilippe held onto the leader’s yellow jersey and even had a tilt at the stage win with a downhill charge after the final climb.
Alaphilippe, who was cheered throughout by French fans again Wednesday, will start leader for Thursday’s first real mountain test that concludes with a tough summit finish in the Vosges. “My legs are killing me,” said Alaphilippe, who took the overall lead on Monday with a gun-slinging offensive from 15 kilometres.
“Tomorrow is going to be a huge test, for me and everyone,” said the 27-yearold former soldier. Sagan’s win will be popular with armchair fans as the charismatic former triple world champion, and six-time green sprint jersey winner, had had two near misses so far. “I try every day, and then one day you get it,” said the burly Sagan.