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Sagan: In 2014 it's about the quality of my victories, not the quantity

By:
Stephen Farrand
Published:
December 18, 2013, 16:26,
Updated:
December 18, 2013, 16:27
Edition:
Second Edition Cycling News, Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Green jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

Green jersey Peter Sagan (Cannondale)

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Cannondale leader talks about Paris-Roubaix, going for green and his growing confidence

Peter Sagan is hoping to exchange the quantity of his victories for more quality next season, with Paris-Roubaix a surprise new objective for 2014 along with Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and a third Tour de France green points jersey.

Sagan tested his ability in the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne but struggled to be competitive on the climbs after a long spring campaign. In 2014 he will race less but hopes to win more for the Cannondale Procycling team.

"I won 22 races in 2013, but in 2014 it's about the quality, not the quantity of my victories," he told Cyclingnews in an exclusive interview.

"If I can win just three races next year: Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and the green jersey at the Tour de France, that'd be better than my 2013 result. It won’t be easy because cycling's never easy or logical but it'd be cool to win the big races.

"It's the same at the Tour de France. For me it's not about the number of stages I win but about winning the green jersey for a third time."

Sagan will begin racing at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina. He will spend Christmas at home in Slovakia and then head to Los Angeles for the official Cannondale team presentation before traveling south to Argentina.

After that his programme is intense but logical for a Classics contender.

"I ride Tour de San Luis, the Dubai Tour, the Tour of Oman and then Camaiore, Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo and then Belgium, starting with Harelbeke. After that, it's Ghent-Wevelgem, De Panne, Flanders and Roubaix," he says rolling off his programme from memory as a cycling tongue twister. 

Sagan rode Paris-Roubaix in 2010 and 2011 but failed to finish at his first attempt and was only 86th in the gruppetto in 2011. He missed Paris-Roubaix in 2012 and 2013, with the team suggesting his high position on the bike was not suited to bouncing on the cobbles. He is stronger and better balanced now and is keen to test himself on the French pave against Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen but played down his chances of celebrating a lone victory with a wheelie in the Roubaix velodrome.

"I can only ensure that I’ll give hundred percent to have the best result I can. I’ll plan time with the team to test the pavè when we're closer to the race because racing Paris-Roubaix takes a different way to race compared to the other races," he confirmed.

Riders such as Cancellara and Boonen, for example, are specialists for Roubaix and they have a lot of experience, much more than me. Before Paris-Roubaix I will target important goals and, at the moment, more within my range. For me will be just a new and exciting challenge.”

Memories of Paris-Roubaix

During the Cannondale training camp in Tuscany, Cyclingnews showed Sagan a video of the 2008 Junior Paris-Roubaix. He laughed out loud as he watched it and recalled how his enthusiasm and early attack cost him victory on the cobbles.

"I attacked alone on the first section of pave and stayed away for 80km but the English rider Andy Fenn passed me on the last section and won," he said.

"I celebrated when I crossed the line. I knew I'd finished second but I was just happy to have made it to the velodrome."

Sagan will be 24 on January 26, the last day of the Tour de San Luis. He is still young but is the team leader at Cannondale in 2014. He shrugs off any idea of pressure and appears even more confident in ability to win.

"Year after year I'm learning more about myself and what I can do," he told Cyclingnews.

"That's giving me even more confidence. I don’t have to win the very first races I ride anymore because I know I can be competitive in the really big races. That means I can prepare specifically for the races that matter. I still want to win a lot in 2014 but I want to win the big races too."
 

kevinzamora 10 months ago
Nice, P-R is set to be amazingly good to watch with Boonen (my personal favorite), Cancellara, Stybar and now Sagan in the mix!
denominator 10 months ago
Yes. Adding Roubaix to the program is the best answer to Cancellara's "adding pressure" on the dangerous opponent. The more clashes of Titans, the better. And if Tommeke joins the party, P-R shoud become a true higlight of the year. I think in last two years Liq.-Can. did not want Sagan to ride Roubaix as they regarded it risky. But now he is in position to say what he would like to ride.
peter g 10 months ago
A great, great rider and encouraging that he is from slovakia - not a traditional cycling nation. he's gonna be one of the greats.
TheBean 10 months ago
He is definitely on his way to being one of the greats. But, Green Jerseys alone aren't going to earn him that status. Zabel will always be known as one of "the greatest GT sprinters" rather than just a "great". I am excited that Sagan has stated his 2014 objectives so early! He's made a name for himself in the here-and-now and openly states that he wants more! I wish him a healthy off-season and hope to see him at his best in the early spring.
Antonín Nerudný 10 months ago
"slovakia - not a traditional cycling nation" - Jan Svorada the winner of many professional races including Tour de France an Giro stages was Slovak. I would not say that they are not traditional cycling nation, but they don´t have such a big number of professionals as for example Belgians or Dutch.
velogeek 10 months ago
There are many cyclists from the Slovak region who have Czech nationality, including Jan Svorada. It's a reflection of the turbulent recent history in the Balkans, but there is a long history of great Czech and Slovak cyclists.
vassosa 10 months ago
"they don´t have such a big number of professionals" That means they're not a traditional nation. Though I think the word "powerhouse" could be better used.
sharper 10 months ago
I think we saw hints of his plan when he won in Montreal. I know it wasn't the toughest hill there is, but he made the break on the climb behind Ecole Polytechnique and rode on to a pretty dominant win. I cannot wait to see what is coming from Sagan in the future. 24 is pretty young by cycling standards.
roberthightowerjr 10 months ago
Peter.Peter.Peter. Sagan to be spectacular in 2014. Can't wait. changing of the classics old guard in full in 2014. Sagan.Sagan.Sagan.
wannabecyclist 10 months ago
I saw Peter Sagan race this summer in Alberta. It was a lot of fun to see him up close ... he looks exactly like he does on tv ... young! He's great for the sport.
PatsyCline 10 months ago
The spring Classics, specifically the cobbled classics, are my favourite time of the season. Can't wait for 2014.
HeadPack 10 months ago
Looks like a very intense race-programme. Hope Sagan does not burn out like Boasson Hagen. The Norwegian was said to have the biggest engine in the peloton, and early results at Sagan's age seemed to confirm that, but he faded. Hope Sagen doesn't overcook. He is too much fun to watch. Rooting for him to get the better of Luigi in the Classics!