Gerrans sprinted away near the end of a hilly 90-mile stage on winding coastal roads in Corsica and did just enough to hold off Sagan, a Slovak with the Cannondale team.
“I was able to hold off one of the quickest guys around,” Gerrans said in a televised interview. “It must have been close as neither of us knew who had won.”
It’s the second season at the Tour de France for Orica-GreenEdge, an Australian squad.
Jan Bakelants, a Belgian with the RadioShack team, kept the race-leading yellow jersey after the ride between Ajaccio and Calvi. He won yesterday’s 97-mile stage by one second with a late charge to the line on his own.
Gerrans, who also won a stage in 2008, is among about 70 riders including Chris Froome and Alberto Contador who are a second behind Bakelants.
Froome, a Kenya-born Briton who was second last year, is the favorite to win the 100th edition of the race, according to seven bookmakers’ odds on oddschecker.com.
Two-time champion Contador of Team Saxo Bank is second favorite with the seven bookmakers. The 2012 champion Bradley Wiggins is absent because of injury.
Earlier today, Gerrans’s teammate Simon Clarke took the lead on the final climb but was caught by Pierre Rolland, a French rider with Europcar who retains the polka-dot jersey for leading mountain climber.
After the opening three days on Corsica, the race resumes tomorrow with a 15.5-mile team time trial in Nice.
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