Peter Sagan sprints to victory on opening stage of Three Days of De Panne

Last Updated: 26/03/13 5:12pm

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Peter Sagan claimed his seventh win of the season

Peter Sagan claimed his seventh win of the season

Sky Bet

Peter Sagan continued his stunning start to the year by sprinting to victory on the opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne in Belgium.

The Slovakian prodigy followed up his triumph at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday with another ominous exhibition of power and now has seven wins to his name so far this season.

There was an element of controversy to his latest victory, after he veered into the line of second-placed Arnaud Demare (FDJ) inside the final 100m, but race officials were happy that he had not broken any rules.

Demare, who had to stretch out an arm to push Sagan away, recovered sufficiently enough to pull almost level, only to run out of road and be beaten in the tightest of photo finishes.

The sprint was contested by just 10 riders after Sagan himself had successfully split the front of the peloton with the second of two attacks, 7km out.

Up until that point, Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma - Quick-Step) and a number of other sprinters had still been at the head of the race, but Sagan was keen to shed them in order to avoid a bunch finish.

The result sees 23-year-old assume the overall leadership of the race, with time bonuses placing Demare four seconds back in second and Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) six seconds adrift in third.

Sagan is now also out on his own as the most prolific rider of the season so far, having edged ahead of Cavendish's six wins in 2013.

Wednesday's second stage, a 209km ride from Oudenaarde to Koksijde (St Idesbald), is flat and appears set to finish in a bunch sprint. Cavendish will be among the favourites for victory.

Stage one result

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5:00.27
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, same time
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, st
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
5 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini, st
6 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
7 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony, st
8 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Europcar, st
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ, st
16 Mark Cavendish (GB) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +9secs

General classification

1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale in 5:00.17
2 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ, +4secs
3 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha, +6
4 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, +10
5 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Vini Fantini, same time
6 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step, st
7 Maxime Vantomme (Bel) Crelan-Euphony, st
8 Jerome Cousin (Fra) Europcar, st
9 Davide Cimolai (Ita) Lampre-Merida, st
10 Johan Le Bon (Fra) FDJ, st

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