After his early season victories as well as his very promising fourth place in Milan-San Remo, Peter Sagan was bound to score at the Spring Classics in Belgium but the Liquigas-Cannondale fast man again had to be content with a podium placing at Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. The Slovakian rider blamed a badly-timed sprint for his loss against Enrico Gasparotto (Astana) and Jelle Vandenert (Lotto-Belisol).
"If I had attacked just two seconds later, I would have finished in front of everyone. I faded only in the last metres. What a shame," Sagan said on his team website. "I always race to win and to see the victory slip away in the last few metres makes me angry. On the other hand, the podium at Amstel Gold Race is a very good result."
Sagan did not know when exactly to launch his final attack on the Cauberg. "The race finale was very difficult to interpret," he said. "There were a lot of riders and I had to observe many rivals."
The Slovakian was always well-positioned, marking any attacks on the ultimate climb of the Cauberg. "At the start of the climb there it was still a big group and when Gilbert attacked I didn't think twice," he said. "With hindsight, I should have had more patience but after 250 kilometres your lucidity is what it is. But everything counts as experience for the future: today, I became aware that this is a Classic that I can win."
For now, Sagan has added this result to his already impressive list of top placings this spring which includes fourth places at Milan-San Remo and at the Tour of Flanders as well as a second placing in Gent-Wevelgem. His teammate Vincenzo Nibali, who finished seven minutes down, has just come back from a training camp at altitude and hoped that he will be more successful at the upcoming races this week.
"My feelings weren't too bad. But I knew that there was a risk that adapting from my altitude training camp could make me suffer: I take this race as a useful test for Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège," said Nibali.