Liquigas-Cannondale is on double duty at the Tour de France to keep Peter Sagan in the green jersey. The Italian team came to the race with the plan to help him win a stage and maybe go for green, and to win the overall with Vincenzo Nibali.

Sagan crashed with 2.5 kilometres remaining yesterday. He came away with only scrapes, but lost a chance to sprint for valuable green jersey points. He currently leads with 155 points, 18 points over Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) in second at 137 points.

Sicilian Vincenzo Nibali won the Vuelta a España in 2010 and built this season around the Tour de France. He skipped the Giro d’Italia to have a chance to win, only he must wait until this weekend’s mountains to establish himself and have the team’s full attention. For now, the focus is on Sagan, who won stages one and three, and holds one of cycling’s prized jerseys.

“He’s gaining more and more faith from the team,” team director, Stefano Zanatta told Cycling Weekly. “You saw [Ivan] Basso give him a hand [on stage three]. He’s a talent. If he continues like this he’ll win even more stages.”

Nibali sits eighth overall at only 18 seconds back from leader Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan). He rode an impressive time trial on the first day in Liège, going faster than many of his rivals and only one second slower than defending champion, Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).

He’ll demand more from the team. However, he’s happy to wait.

“We know that he’s [Sagan – ed.] very strong on those types of finishes. He’s already showed many times to be very strong on similar finishes [in other races],” Nibali told Cycling Weekly.

“It definitely doesn’t take away any energy [from the team] because Peter has to only do his sprints. There’s only one person at the front to help him and he also helps me being up at the front. There’s no problem.”

Daniel Oss helped Sagan collect many of his wins this year. The team dedicates him to look after Sagan in the finishes, like today’s leg to Metz, the other six cyclists protect Nibali. It’s a similar situation with Bernhard Eisel looking after Mark Cavendish at Sky.

“There are these sprint finishes, but Peter knows there are sprinters who are stronger,” Zanatta continued. “He knows that we also have to protect Vincenzo to be ready for the mountains on Saturday and Sunday, and the time trial on Monday.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

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Injury report: Tour stage four

Garmin-Sharp adjust Tour de France plans after injury problems

Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash

Kittel recovering from illness

Explaining the three kilometre rule

Sky’s embarrassment of riches

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Liquigas coach tips Sagan for future Grand Tour win

Cancellara’s win lifts morale in RadioShack team

Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever