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CHERBOURG, France (AFP) — Peter Sagan launched a scathing attack on his fellow Tour de France riders after winning Sunday’s second stage, branding them “stupid” and accusing them of a disregard for each other’s lives.
The 26-year-old world champion, who rode himself into the race leader’s yellow jersey with his victory on the stage from Saint-Lo to Cherbourg, said the way his competitors were racing was dangerous.
“Now it’s very hard to enjoy the bike in the race because when I did my first Tour de France it was a different race,” said the Tinkoff rider from Slovakia. “Now in the group everybody is riding like they don’t care about their life — it’s unbelievable!
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“Last year it was very bad and this year also it’s very bad. But this is the riders’ decision, how they want to ride.
“You never know if tomorrow you can continue the race [or whether you’ll have crashed out].”
Sagan pulled no punches and said there was a lack of self-policing in the peloton compared to when he first started racing in the professional ranks six years ago.
“It’s like everybody is riding [as if they] lose the brain,” he fumed. “There are stupid crashes in the group, it’s very dangerous. When it’s wet nobody brakes — for sure you’re going to crash.
“It’s not logical. In the group, before there was respect. When someone did something stupid, everybody throws their [water] bottle on him or beats him with [tire] pumps.
“But now cycling has lost this. When I came in cycling in 2010, it was a little bit different.”
The four-time winner of the Tour’s green points jersey complained that too many teams and riders were trying to get involved in bunch sprints at the end of stages.
“There’s no respect in the group. People don’t care about others, they [just] want to stay in the [sprint] train behind their guys.
“In the last 50km there are seven trains in front — all the teams have one! They don’t care about the riders.
“Then, in front, there are a lot of guys don’t know how to [ride] a bike — it’s like that.
“Today I’m in yellow but maybe tomorrow I will go home [after crashing out], this is the Tour de France.”