Even as the Peloton slowed down prompting the commentator to joke that they can catch the breakaway faster on foot, Nils Politt took the 1st Intermediate sprint, while among the Green Jersey contenders Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka)took the honours, showing he hasn’t lost his form despite the hiatus due to sickness.
On the 2nd climb of the day at Cote De Wiltz, Politt and Backaert almost had a run-in but Politt reached the summit 1st. As the camera zoomed to the back of the peloton, there seemed to be some injury concerns(possibly wrist) for Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie).
After the climb Politt and Brown broke away from the breakaway(haha!) and cracks appeared in the 4 pursuers with none of them willing to take the lead to chase down the duo at the front.
On the 3rd climb of the day, Brown attacked up the hill and Politt had no response even as Brown kept checking and waiting for Politt to catch up, he took the Category 3 climb up Côte d'Eschdorf, taking 2 KOM points, virtually moving into the Polka Dot jersey and keeping the jersey with Cannondale Drapac.
The original breakaway reorganised with 90k to go with carried on for 30 odd kms before there was a counter-attack from the Peloton in the form of Lilian Calmejane(Direct Energie), Pierre-Luc Périchon(Team Fortuneo-Oscaro) and Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) who later joined the breakaway.
58.5k to go saw a crash, with no major damages.
With almost 40 to go, Brown, Politt and Hansen fell back as Calmejane, Perichon, Hardy and DeGendt moved upfront with the gap narrowing to +1’48”and just as the race returned to action after the advertisement, there was footage of Romain Bardet(Equipe cycliste AG2R LA MONDIALE, 2nd at the Tour last year) trailing the peloton by 45”.
From the Race radio, it was learnt Bardet had crashed but was being brought back to the peloton by his team and was able to make it without any drama.
On the 4th Climb of the day Calmejane attacked dropping everyone but Perichon, who followed him 30” behind and went solo with a 1’04” lead on the Peloton.
13k to go saw another crash this time involving sprint dark horse Sonny Colbrelli(Team Bahrain Merida) and former TT world champion Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky), both of whom were able to rejoin the peloton.
Calmejane scored 1 KOM at the Cat. 4, Côte de la Villers-la-Montagne climb but began to lose ground as the peloton aggressed up the hill and was soon caught as the peloton was together again with less than 10k to go.
Cycling is a beautiful sport and there is nothing more beautiful than the sight of a fast peloton rushing through the streets.
With 1.8k to go, the peloton approached the hill at 67 kmph with Van Avermaet, Jakob Fuglsang, Sagan all in the front.
Green Jersey wearer, Kittel waved goodbye as the Peloton sped up the hill.
With less than a Kilometer to go, Avermaet attacked with his teammate Richie Porte on his wheel and all of a sudden a lot of GC guys made it to the front.
Sagan stayed on Porte’s wheel as Porte attacked with 780 meters to go and took the lead with just under 300 meters to go.
His foot was out!
With the damn peloton behind him! And that too a man like Greg Van Avermaet, the Olympic Champion and winner of 4 classics this year.
If it was a mere mortal, Avermaet would have taken it.
But this was the almighty, Peter Sagan.
He casually and coolly clipped back in and took the stage!