For the second straight year Peter Sagan (Cannondale) kicked off his season in Argentina's Tour de San Luis, and also for the second straight year the 24-year-old Slovakian fell just short of winning a stage. In both the 2013 and 2014 editions Sagan saved the best for last as his best results were second place finishes both years in the final stage.
In 2013 Sagan was outkicked by Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) in a blazing fast finale, while in Sunday's conclusion to the 2014 edition Sagan came up short against Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida) on a technical finale seemingly more suited to the Slovakian's skill set.
Nonetheless, Sagan didn't seem forlorn at the seven-day Tour de San Luis, the biggest stage race in all of South America, as his major goals for the season are still months away.
"My team did very good work and I had the best position for the finale, but I'm not in condition now," Sagan told Cyclingnews moments after the stage finished. "I'm happy for second place. The team worked and it was very good."
Oscar Gatto, new to Cannondale for 2014, provided the lead-out for Sagan into the finish at Terrazas del Portezuelo.
Sagan wasn't involved in the Tour de San Luis's first sprint finale, won by Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing), as he rolled in 44 seconds down. Sagan did prove rather adept in the flat, 19.2km time trial on stage five, placing 10th.
"I'm leaving San Luis with improving condition and that is good," said Sagan. "January is an important step in preparing for the Classics season, my first goal of the season."
When asked to identify what first big goal of the season was, Sagan provided a two-word response: "San Remo".