Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) was called for anti-doping after finishing fourth at Milan-San Remo, giving him to time to reflect and analyse his race and his fourth place behind Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) but his disappointment was still clear to see when he returned to the Bora-Hansgrohe team bus.
Sagan had chased after Alaphilippe when the Frenchman attacked on the Poggio and was there as the sprint began in the Via Roma. But as he looked for Alejandro Valverde (Movistar), the sprint exploded on the left with Alaphilippe proving to be unbeatable.
Sagan has raced Milan-San Remo nine times and finished in the top five on four occasions, but the first monument of the season continues to be out of reach.
“I was close but again not first…” Sagan said, speaking to the media, including Cyclingnews, at the team bus.
“The race just happened like that after the Poggio, which we did in a headwind,” he explained in detail, as the finale flashed across his mind. “I was on a good day, I thought I’d be worse.
“Deceuninck-QuickStep did a good job on all the climbs and then Alaphilippe just was very strong. We kept him close and after I tried to do something with Kwiatkowski and Valverde, but they just controlled the situation.
“After, it was an unpredictable situation when we went down into San Remo. Trentin tried to attack in the last two kilometres and I just tried to close the gap. After another tried to attack and then Alaphilippe tried to attack, Mohoric attacked. Then we all came together.”
Sagan was badly placed on the front of the group as they entered Via Roma. He knew it was the wrong place to be.
“I got a little stuck on the front for the sprint. It was a sprint from a low speed,” he explained.
“When we opened the sprint, I was looking for Valverde and they passed me on the left and I was on the right. I was squeezed in and when I found space to sprint, it wasn't enough. Alaphilippe had two bike lengths and it was hard to get him back.
Sagan could only take heart from his good form and hope to perform in the cobbled Classics.
“Yeah, we’ll see. I’ll try my best,” he said trying to sign off with optimism.