Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) may have suffered an untimely puncture on stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico but the three-time world champion believes that he's back on track after a recent bout of illness threatened to scupper his early spring classics campaign.
Sagan came into Tirreno-Adriatico on the back of a stint of altitude training in Sierra Nevada. However, a stomach virus left him unable to train for several days, and he was forced to remain in his hotel room as his body recovered. He skipped Bora-Hansgrohe's team time trial recon on Tuesday and escaped a fall when a spectator walked out in front of the German team during their race effort a day later.
On stage 2 Sagan lost contact with the lead group with 22 kilometers remaining, while Milan-San Remo rival Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) powered clear to take the stage and extend his incredible run that started in January at the Vuelta a San Juan.
Sagan has taken a slower approach to this season. He once again debuted at the Tour Down Under, where he won a stage, and then raced San Juan where he finished second in one of the bunch sprints. However, he skipped Opening Weekend in Belgium with the view of broadening his Classics campaign and form towards the Ardennes, and specifically Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Milan-San Remo - a race he has yet to win - remains a realistic goal but the plan at Tirreno-Adriatico is clearly to ensure that he has fully recovered from his recent illness and that there are no further complications ahead of the season's first Monument.
"Although I'm still weak, I can feel that I'm getting better, slowly," Sagan said after stage 2 of Tirreno-Adriatico.
"I wanted to give my best today on stage 2 of the Tirreno Adriatico but, unfortunately, I suffered from a puncture in a downhill section in the final 15km. By the time I was back on my bike, it was impossible to get back in the bunch. We'll try again tomorrow."
Stage 3 of the race is expected to be decided in a bunch sprint in Foligno. Cyclingnews will have complete live coverage of the stage, along with live coverage from stage 6 of Paris-Nice.