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Cycling news - Peter Sagan takes sprint victory over Geraint Thomas in Shanghai Critérium

Sagan takes sprint victory over Thomas in Shanghai Critérium

17/11/2018 at 14:04Updated 17/11/2018 at 15:14

Despite it being the final time reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas would wear yellow in 2018, six-time Tour points winner and three-time world champion Peter Sagan offered little respite taking the win at the second edition of the Shanghai Critérium presented by Le Tour de France on Saturday.

Despite it being the final time reigning Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas would wear yellow in 2018, six-time Tour points winner and three-time world champion Peter Sagan offered little respite taking the win at the second edition of the Shanghai Critérium presented by Le Tour de France on Saturday.

Following back-to-back days of frigid rain, Mother Nature turned on her charm just long enough to bask 12 teams, including seven WorldTour squads, and 43 riders on a sunny start along China’s central coast before the cold temperatures and overcast conditions returned after the race.

Video - Sagan edges out Thomas to win Shanghai Criterium

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" 2018 LE TOUR DE FRANCE SKODA SHANGHAI CRITERIUM :🥇 @petosagan 🥈 @GeraintThomas86 🥉 @MATTEOTRENTIN #ShanghaiCriterium pic.twitter.com/PMOocF2c1U — Tour de France (@LeTour) November 17, 2018"

After the catching a five-rider break, which launched as a sextet on the first lap, with 15km to go, Sagan and Thomas soon broke away from the field along with European road race champion Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott) and the TdF’s best young rider Pierre Latour (AG2R-La Mondiale) inside the final 10km of the 20-lap, 60km city circuit, it was the 28-year-old Slovakian who ultimately prevailed in what was tougher race than expected according to the winner.

“The last three laps were really hard,” said Sagan after completing the 80-minute crit with an average speed of 44.758 km/h. “I very happy to control it and win.”

Trentin finished third, while Latour took fourth, as well as the top spot in the youth classification ahead of fellow 25-year-old Owain Doull (Team Sky) of Great Britain.

" 🏆 @petosagan wins the 2018 #ShanghaiCriterium 💪Peter Sagan remporte le #ShanghaiCriterium 💪 pic.twitter.com/EkuxqADx6d — Tour de France (@LeTour) November 17, 2018"

German sprinter Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) claimed the points classification after winning three of the four intermediate sprints. Chinese rider Peng Gao (Ningxia Sports Lottery) was the only other rider other than Kittel to record a five-point sprint bonus.

“First 10 laps I was a little bit bad, but after it was better and better every lap,” explained Sagan. “After 10 laps but after it started getting better and better for me, after 10 laps Marcel already had a lot of points so I focused on the final.”

Like Sagan, Kittel was also surprised to the level of difficulty the race presented on the day.

“It was actually quite difficult,” he told Eurosport after the race. “I had to go focus on the points at the beginning of the race, and that was more work than I thought. In the end, I was tired. At least it worked out with the points classification.”

" 🥂 Caption this 💬🥂 Légende cette photo 💬#ShanghaiCriterium pic.twitter.com/xhBTscSHX9 — Tour de France (@LeTour) November 16, 2018"

Earlier this month, recently crowned world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) claimed his sixth edition of Le Tour’s Saitama Critérium in Japan, which like Shanghai is a concerted effort from Tour organiser ASO to help promote cycling in Asia.

Clad in his new rainbow jersey, the seemingly ageless 38-year-old Spaniard out-sprinted Thomas, with Japanese native Yukiya Arashiro in third.

Norwegian Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) won the green jersey and Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) took the polka-dot. Trentin won the ‘most combative’ award.

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Photo: A.S.O. / Pauline Ballet

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