KRAKOW, Poland (AFP) — World road race champion Peter Sagan edged a bunch sprint to win the first stage of the Tour of Poland in Krakow on Saturday, his first outing since being kicked off the Tour de France.
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“I'm so happy to be back racing with a victory that follows my latest stage win a few weeks ago," said Sagan.
The Slovak was expelled from the Tour on stage 5 after crashing with British sprinter Mark Cavendish in a high-speed bunch finish.
On Saturday, there was a mass fall in the peloton with 100m to go but this time Sagan played no part in the accident.
"The past is now behind us and we are fully focused on racing at the Tour de Pologne," Sagan added.
Sporting a new military-style buzz haircut, 27-year-old Sagan burst clear of Australia's Orica-Scott rider Caleb Ewan in the last stretch while Sky's Dutch sprinter Danny Van Poppel was a third, three lengths back.
The Tour of Poland runs from July 29 to August 4.
Stage 1, top five
1. Peter Sagan (SVK/BOH) in 2h 56:16.
2. Caleb Ewan (AUS/ORS) s.t.
3. Dany Van Poppel (NED/SKY) s.t.
4. Riccardo Minali (ITA/AST) s.t.
5. Nicollo Bonifazio (ITA/TBM ) s.t.