BOULOGNE-SUR-MER, France — Pumping his arms in victory, Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the crash-marred third stage of the Tour de France today as cycling’s showcase race returned to its home country.
Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland remained the overall leader for a fourth straight day. The cyclists, following a stretch in Belgium, completed a 122-mile ride from Orchies that featured five small climbs to an uphill finish in the fishing port of Boulogne-sur-Mer.
Sagan won his second stage in his debut Tour by bolting from the splintered pack with less than 300 meters left. He pumped his arms as he crossed the line several lengths — and one second — ahead of runner-up Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway and third-place finisher Peter Velits of Slovakia.
Sagan said his gesture — in which he churned his arms as a runner might — was a nod to the title character in the film “Forrest Gump.”
Overall, Cancellara leads Bradley Wiggins of Britain in second and Sylvain Chavanel of France in third, both seven seconds back. Defending champ Cadel Evans climbed from eighth to seventh place, 17 seconds behind.
TOURNAI, Belgium — Mark Cavendish led a tight sprint to the finish to win the second stage of the Tour de France, while Cancellara retained the overall leader’s yellow jersey after the mostly flat ride across Belgium.
Farrar finished in the front pack to place 10th.
Cavendish collected his 21st Tour stage victory and proved he remains the rider to beat in Tour sprints. He also won three stages in the Giro d’Italia and two in the Tour of Oman this year.
SERAING, Belgium — Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the first stage of the Tour de France, while title contender Bradley Wiggins of Britain and defending champion Cadel Evans trailed close behind in the pack after the 123-mile loop from Liege to suburban Seraing featuring five low-grade climbs.
Sagan, at age 21 one of cycling’s most promising riders, placed his hands on his shoulders as he collected his first Tour stage win in a three-man sprint ahead of Cancellara in second and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway in third.
Farrar finished 156th.