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(AP) - Rising cycling star Peter Sagan of Slovakia won the first stage of the Tour de France on Sunday ahead of Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, who retained the overall lead.

Defending champion Cadel Evans and fellow title contender Bradley Wiggins of Britain trailed close behind in the pack after the 123-mile loop from Liege to suburban Seraing featuring five low-grade climbs.



Stage 1 Results
1. Peter Sagan- Liquigas-Cannondale - 4:58:19
2. Fabian Cancellara - RadioShack-Nissan
3. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Sky Procycling
4. Philippe Gilbert - BMC Racing Team
5. Bauke Mollema - Rabobank Cycling Team
6. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte - Movistar Team
7. Robert Gesink - Rabobank Cycling Team
8. Daniel Martin - Garmin - Sharp
9. Ryder Hesjedal - Garmin - Sharp
10. Dries Devenyns - Omega Pharma-QuickStep




General classification after Stage 1
1. Fabian Cancellara - RadioShack-Nissan - 5:05:32
2. Bradley Wiggins - Sky Procycling - 0:00:07
3. Sylvain Chavanel - Omega Pharma-QuickStep
4. Tejay van Garderen - BMC Racing Team - 0:00:10
5. Edvald Boasson Hagen - Sky Procycling - 0:00:11
6. Denis Menchov - Katusha Team - 0:00:13
7. Philippe Gilbert - BMC Racing Team
8. Cadel Evans - BMC Racing Team - 0:00:17
9. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:18
10. Ryder Hesjedal - Garmin - Sharp


Full results here..




Jersey Standings:
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Fabian Cancellara
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Fabian Cancellara
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Michael Morkov
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Tejay Van Garderen





Links to news sites...

"Cancellara keeps yellow but pipped by sneaky Sagan
By Justin Davis (AFP)

SERAING, Belgium - Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland held on to the Tour de France yellow jersey Sunday after being pipped at the finish line of the first stage by streetwise Slovakian Peter Sagan.

Cancellara now leads British race favourite Bradley Wiggins of Sky by 7sec in the general classification, with Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel third on the same time.

Australia's defending champion Cadel Evans, of BMC, remains 17sec off the pace and 10sec behind Wiggins.

RadioShack rider Cancellara took the race leader's jersey thanks to a commanding opening day win when he repeated his Liege feat of 2004 to claim the fourth prologue win of his career.

But despite leaving a gaping hole when he pulled away from the peloton with 1.5km remaining on the 2.4km-long uphill finish, the Swiss was upstaged by the Liquigas team's Slovakian champion." Read more from AFP...

"Newcomer Sagan makes immediate mark with first Tour de France win

(CNN) -- Peter Sagan of Slovakia marked his debut in the Tour de France by winning the first stage of this year's race in Seraing Sunday.

The 22-year-old Liquigas rider underlined his reputation as the rising star of the peloton by outsprinting Fabian Cancellara and Edvald Boasson Hagen of Norway after a tough uphill finish to the 198km stage from Liege.

Swiss Cancellara kept the race leader's yellow jersey he claimed after winning the opening prologue Saturday.

Pre-race favorite Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky finished in a whittled down bunch given the same time as the leading three, which also included defending champions Cadel Evans of Australia." Read more from CNN International...

Photos by CorVos