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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Peter Sagan displays skills in missed sprint chance

Slovakian superstar avoids crashing after he says he was squeezed into the barriers in Friday's frenetic finale.

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Peter Sagan didn’t win Friday’s sprint finale, but he didn’t crash, either.

That was a sort of victory at the end of a frenetic stage 7 at the Giro d’Italia for the Bora-Hansgrohe star.

Sagan showed off his world-class bike-handling skills again in a tight-rope walk along the barriers.

Also read: Sagan victim of his own success at Giro

Sagan said another rider closed him into the fences in the final right-hander, and he was forced to ease off his sprint just as stage-winner Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal) was punching the accelerator.

Sagan narrowly avoided crashing into the barriers and was able to stay upright. After losing his momentum, however, Sagan crossed the line 14th in what’s another missed chance for a stage win.

“I would say it was a bittersweet stage today,” Sagan said. “I had strong legs, I was feeling well and the squad was fantastic. They worked perfectly to keep me safe and position me, especially in the difficult final kilometers. I was in a good position for the sprint finish but a rider in front of me closed me into the barriers and there was little I could do.”

The Slovakian superstar was upset after missing out on a chance for an elusive stage win Friday, but displayed superb bike-handling skills to steer clear of crashing into the fences.

“It was a sprint stage that suited Peter really well,” said sport director Jan Vallach. “The finale was tricky, with was a sharp right-hand corner with 1.5km to go, followed by a short and steep climb. Peter was very well positioned, the guys did a brilliant job all day and Daniel Oss lead him out very well. Unfortunately, in the final few hundred meters, Peter was closed by another rider, touched the barriers and that was the end of his sprint effort.”

Saturday’s sharp uphill finale will prove too demanding for Sagan, but Sunday’s transition stage could end in a bunch kick if the sprinter teams collaborate to control the breakaways.