Insouciant Sagan leaves Paris-Roubaix result in the hands of the Fates

World champion deals with media and fans on Tinkoff pavé recon ride

Such is his current stardom Peter Sagan cannot go anywhere or do anything without a fuss.

As he stops for a comfort break after coming out of the Arenberg Forest on Tinkoff's Paris-Roubaix recon ride on Friday, he can barely get his bib shorts back up before an opportunistic fan gets in position for a selfie.

It was the same just an hour or so earlier when the Tinkoff bus pulled into an anonymous supermarket car park in the small French town of Denain, and the world champion stepped off and straight into the centre of a media scrum.

Over those 10 minutes spent in front of the cameras and Dictaphones, he deals with the questions in his own inimitable style – laconic, yet cheerful and relaxed.

When asked if he's cycling's equivalent of the popular ponytailed footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, he quips: "Who is Ibrahimovic?"

The insouciance – the extent to which it is genuine or affected we cannot know – does feel slightly incongruous with the import of what is within his grasp this week. The Tour of Flanders – Paris-Roubaix double would be a historic feat, in the rainbow jersey no less, but Sagan just wants "have a nice day" and leave it in the hands of the Fates.

"I'm always relaxed," he says. "For sure I'm not stressed.

"I don't have any expectations – go to the finish, don't crash, and have a nice day. If my destiny is to win, maybe I will. If my destiny is not to win, I don't win."

Sagan and his teammates went on to test their legs and equipment on 16 of the 27 cobbled sectors that line the route of the Hell of the North. He tried out the different lines over the pavé, from the crown in the middle to the rut at the side, and stopped after the Arenberg to talk to his mechanic and make minor adjustments to his set-up.

Asked which of the sectors could act as a springboard for a winning attack, like the Paterberg in Flanders last week, he pointed to the unpredictability of Paris-Roubaix – one of the reasons why he loves the race.

"Everyone likes Roubaix because it's a different style of race, the cobblestones are unique in the world, and there's lots of history behind it," he said, describing how a certain Tom Boonen was on the screen when the race first caught his attention.

The other reason? "Flanders and Roubaix mean the stronger riders can be at the front," and Sagan clearly counts himself in that category, also pointing to Boonen and Fabian Cancellara.

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