Peter Sagan: I still can't believe I'm world champion

Slovakian caps 2016 season with Saitama Criterium victory

Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) may have pulled on the second rainbow jersey of his outstanding career a fortnight ago but the Slovakian is still coming to terms with the magnitude of his achievement.

Sagan became the first rider since Paolo Bettini in 2007 to retain the World Championships road race title when he beat Mark Cavendish to the line in Doha, Qatar, surprising the pure sprinters with a burst to the line that capped another impressive season.

Now in Japan for ASO's Saitama Criterium, where he won the main race on Saturday, Sagan's star has never shone brighter. Even a trip to the hotel mini-mart to buy a local soup delicacy was met with dozens of fans mobbing him in search of autographs and selfies.

This is not Sagan's first time at the Japanese race but while he remains focused on the event he is still wrapping his head around his Doha triumph.

"It's very special. I still can't believe I did it. It was a very big surprise for me," he said.

"I was trying to do my best but I never thought that I could win it again. It's a really special race, the World Championships, and I'm so happy to make it but for sure I have some energy left."

Sagan's off-season begins shortly and he has already met up with his new Bora-Hansgrohe teammates. He will lead the team in their first season at WorldTour level, and while he still has obligations with Tinkoff, he already has one eye on 2017.

"We're still in this season and I'm happy. Next season is still far away. What do you want to talk about, my objectives or my goals? They're always the same - to race the Classics and then the Tour de France and after that we will see."

Sagan competes in all three of the Saitama events on Saturday – an individual time trial, points race, and criterium. He will start his next competitive season at the Tour Down Under in January 2017.

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