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SA’s Thomson fights hard for Dimension Data cause

Dimension

Team Dimension Data’s South African rider Jay Thomson was again in the thick of things as Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the second stage of the Tour de France on Sunday.

Victory saw Sagan pulling on the overall race leader’s yellow jersey. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) finished in second place and Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) third.

It was another sprinters’ day as the peloton took on the 182km stage to La Roche-sur-Yon. Initially, three riders formed the break of the day, but after the single King of the Mountains point was taken, only Sylvain Chavanel (Direct Energie) carried on up the road alone.

The peloton gave the Frenchman a lead of just over four minutes, with Quickstep-Floors controlling proceedings.

It was a rather calm stage up until the intermediate sprint which came with 50km to go. From thereon, it was a nervy bunch that approached the inevitable sprint finale.

The African Dimension Data team put Thomson forward to ensure Chavanel was caught with 20km to go and then it was up to the rest of the team to position teammate Mark Cavendish through the technical run-in to the line.

Team Sky took command of the final 5km, keeping their GC riders safe before Bora-Hansgrohe and Quickstep-Floors took over for the sprint leadout.

Dimension Data battled to get their sprint train going at full tilt, resulting in Cavendish being too far back when the race reached a critical right-hand corner with 2km to go.

It was in that corner where a crash in the first 20 places put an end to most riders’ stage hopes, including Saturday’s victor Fernando Gaviria (Quickstep-Floors) as well as Cavendish.

None of the Dimension Data riders went down in the crash but unfortunately, it was a missed chance at this stage of the Tour de France.

Speaking of Sunday’s stage, Norway’s Edvald Boasson Hagen said: ‘It was pretty hectic again today, but that’s the Tour for you. The only good thing today was that we all stayed on our bikes and we are able to fight again another day.

‘Tomorrow we will have the team time trial but hopefully we can do better with our next sprint opportunity.’


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