Breschel: Peter Sagan is the biggest talent in cycling

Dane hopes to raise his game with new captain

Matti Breschel believes that Peter Sagan can inspire Tinkoff-Saxo to ride at another level in the 2015 Spring Classics. Sagan has joined the Russian registered team after several years at Cannondale and will spearhead the team from January onwards. The most significant signing of the season joins a team that has lacked an out-and-out Classics star since Fabian Cancellara.

"I'm really looking forward to riding with him and I see him coming to the team as something that’s really positive for the squad," Breschel told Cyclingnews at the team's training camp in Gran Canaria.

"He's the biggest talent in cycling right now and he's a superstar. That tells you everything you need to know and he's the captain, and we all want him to win a lot of races.

"He can bring us to another level and perhaps that will bring me to another level. It's a bit like the time that Fabian was with us. He brought us to another level and all of a sudden lots of us were winning racing."

Breschel kick-started his Classics career with a win in Dwars door Vlaanderen in 2010 and when riding under Cancellara's wing looked like a star in the making. He could climb the punchy bergs of Flanders, sprint with the likes of Tom Boonen and had the pedigree to survive over the longer distances.

A move away from Saxo Bank to Rabobank, however, coincided with a dip in form and a number of injuries and setback. A return to Bjarne Riis' team at the start of 2013 saw him remain in a leadership role but successful results in the Classics have yet to materialise.

With Sagan now leading the line, Breschel believes that he can once more shine as a foil, as he once did for Cancellara several years ago.

"The aim is to be there in the Classics and to be there from Paris-Nice until Paris-Roubaix," he said.

"Of course I've wanted more from myself in the last few years but you can't really change how things are. You just need to see things in a positive way and keep on focusing. Yes, I've had some shitty periods. I don't crash a lot but when I do I seem to miss long and crucial parts of the season. Take Oman as example [ed. he was hit by a flying mattress]. I had to take a few weeks off and that killed my spring campaign. I struggled but I was still there in a few races but crashed out in Flanders."

During Tinkoff-Saxo's training camp, and at their recent ascent of Kilimanjaro Breschel and Sagan have begun to strike up a rapport. Race schedules have yet to be fully discussed – according to the Dane – but the 30-year-old has praised Sagan for his ability to fit in with the team's culture.

"First of all I think he really has fit in well. I've spent time with him and he's a social guy who has the right mentality for the Classics. We've not really sat down and talked about races but I know we'll have roughly the same programmes for the first half of the season."

Breschel's ambitions to support Sagan in the cut and thrust of the Classics are admirable and could be crucial considering that the team missed out on signing Edvald Boasson Hagen in the transfer window. Yet the he still harbours ambitions of his own. Sagan's arrival, he hopes, will spur him onto greater things, and provide him with the chance to take opportunities that were perhaps blunted by his leadership role in previous years.

"I hope I can make that next step. I just need to keep trying but you can't predict your future. I'm 30 but there are a lot of really good bike riders out there. It's not just Boonen and Cancellara out there. They were the guys to beat but under them there are many talented guys. I still think that I will have chances. We'll play on different cards so guys like me and Daniele Bennati will be there but if it comes down to a finale and Peter is good we'll work for him. We'll play our cards the best way we can though.

"I'm still missing that big Classic. That's the thing that's missing. It doesn't have to be the Tour of Flanders but maybe I just need that bit of luck. When you have a guy like Fabian, a Gilbert or a Sagan, it brings the team up to a new level. We have Alberto of course and he does that for the stage races but for the cobbles maybe we needed a superstar and now we have one."

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