Cyclingnews will have live coverage of Milan-San Remo from 8am GMT on Saturday, March 19.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) says that he will not change anything in his approach to racing as he continues his hunt for his first victory in the rainbow jersey at Milan-San Remo. He has been close with four second places so far this season, plus an agonisingly close runner’s up spot at Tirreno-Adriatico, and is confident that the wins will eventually come to him but he will have to fight for it.
“Apart from the enormous pleasure and great pride, nothing else has changed. No one gives you any gifts; no one lets you go,” he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "Sooner or later the victory will come, I'm calm about it. At the start of this season, I have always been fighting for success. Compared to three years ago, when it was easier for me to win, the racing is different.”
Sagan has looked on good form of late, finishing second to Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the overall classification at Tirreno-Adriatico by just a single second. However, Sagan pointed out in the interview that it wasn’t his form that counted but the result; a feeling that was clearly evident on the podium at Tirreno-Adriatico.
Following the stage race, Sagan will return his attentions to the Classics and the season’s first Monument, Milan-San Remo. He’s come close to winning, but it hasn’t quite worked out yet. The Slovakian has been in the top 10 in four of his five appearances at the race, including his career best finish of second in 2013, when Gerald Ciolek took a surprise win.
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"It’s the longest and easiest classic. But very difficult to win,” he said of the near-300-kilometre Classic. "I'd like a San Remo with the Manie climb and maybe even the Pompeiana... It would make it more difficult for the sprinters. I will never be a climber, but I don’t feel that I’m a sprinter either.”
As always, Sagan will be among the favourites on the start line at Milan-San Remo this weekend but there will be plenty of competition for the top spot. It’s a position he is well used to and there will be no pre-race butterflies for him. "I am used to the pressure, I’m used to being one of the favourites,” he said. “But I don’t like people who are nervous around me. It creates stress. Sometimes it happens. I don’t have pre-race rituals before the start but I don’t talk much on the radio during the race.”
Usually, Sagan is reticent to name any of his rivals, often batting away any questions with a generic response. He was a little more forthcoming this time, sharing his thoughts on the potential contenders. "Fabian [Cancellara] is riding very good at the moment. Then everything depends on how many sprinters get over the Poggio. For sure Matthews and Van Avermaet will be there. I don’t think Greg will attack on the Poggio."
When asked what he thought was the key section of the course, Sagan joked: “I do not know. Otherwise I would have already won five times! Every year is a different race, and the weather is also a factor.
"When the race is being decided, you have to be there and be sharp. Before then you can feel good or then suddenly the lights go out. Or you can even not feel great and then suddenly you find your legs. People who have never raced don’t understand feeling like that.”
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