The greats have come out to play in the first four days of the Tour de France: Fabian Cancellara, Mark Cavendish and twice, Peter Sagan. The 22-year-old won today in Boulogne-sur-Mer, a finish suited to him thanks to the steep ramp to the finish line.

“It was very impressive, but he’s been impressive ever since he turned pro in 2010. He’s going from strength to strength,” Sky’s sports director, Sean Yates said. “The way he finished today, it’s not taking the Mick but he’s taken it to another level.”

Sagan went through a victory salute that proved he had remaining energy in the tank. He crossed himself and then pretended he was Forrest Gump: Run, Forrest, Run.

“We spoke over dinner about the victory and we talked of the Forrest Gump film,” Sagan explained in the press conference. “They told him to run, and he ran. My team-mates told me to win, and I won. Hah! It was just for a laugh.”

Sagan won from February to March this year, including five stages in the Tour of California and four in the Tour of Switzerland, and the points jerseys in both races. His goal is now the green jersey.

“We don’t hide that the dream is for him to win as many stages possible and the green jersey,” Liquigas trainer, Paolo Slongo told Cycling Weekly. “Slowly, he’s getting closer to that dream.”

“He’s keeps surprising us. From the start of the year, we didn’t know where he’d end up,” Liquigas team director, Stefano Zanatta told Cycling Weekly. “If it continues like this, we’ll see him more and more winning stages.”

Sagan leads the green jersey competition with 116 points, 42 points over Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) with 74 points. Mark Cavendish (Sky) has 73 points.

Sky coach, Rod Ellingworth said he was impressed.

“He’s a different ball game, a different character with different ability. He’s nothing like Cav, who’s a sprinter. He’s a little bit more punchier than [Philippe] Gilbert even. He’s going to go on to great things,” Ellingworth told Cycling weekly.

“He always rides well. Great on the bike. You think some of those Ardennes Classics will be ideal for him, more of these Grand Tour stage wins, the green jersey. He’s good at one-week stage races. If he improves his time trialling, he’s going to be good, isn’t he?”

Cancellara won Milan-San Remo, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the last years. Cavendish collected a San Remo win. They both must also be wondering what is possible for Sagan.

“If I win in the classics, I’ll be happy,” Sagan said. This year, he placed fourth in San Remo, second in Ghent-Wevelgem, fifth in Flanders and third in Amstel Gold. “In the next years, for sure, I want to win some classics, like San Remo. I like Flanders a lot. Amstel is not bad either.”

Sagan, if not already there, is pushing to be a great.

Tour de France 2012: Latest news

Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash

Kittel recovering from illness

Explaining the three kilometre rule

Sky’s embarrassment of riches

Rogers back on form and backing Wiggins in the Tour

Martin to continue in Tour despite fractured wrist

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 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 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 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

 

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  • Colnago dave

    SKY next year then ?

  • max

    Forrest gump my a—e. I can see the outcry if Cav had done that. Just hope for him that he doesn’t puncture one day.