Points leader in line to collect on bet made with Liquigas team boss
Having bagged three stages and all but wrapped up victory in the points competition, Peter Sagan has admitted that he already has his eye on the Tour de France's final stage finish on the Champs Elysées. But even if the Slovak misses out in Paris, he’s still set for a nice bonus as he prepares to collect on a pre-race bet made with Team Liquigas president Paolo Zani.
In the days before the race started in Liège, Sagan asked Zani whether he would give him a car if he could win the green jersey in Paris. OK, Zani said, but to claim it you also have to win two stages. With three in the bag, all Sagan now has to do is cross the finishing line in Paris in green to collect the Porsche that Zani put up as an incentive to the Slovak sensation.
“I’m not certain of reaching Paris in the green jersey, but I’ve got a good advantage over André Greipel,” Sagan told Spanish news agency EFE. “There are still five stages left and anything could happen on any of those days.”
Sagan leads Greipel by 102 points ahead of Wednesday’s big Pyrenean stage. Beyond that, there are only two stages where the sprinters are likely to feature. In order to deny Sagan the green jersey, Greipel would have to win both of them and hope that the Liquigas rider does not pick up any points at all, which is very unlikely given Sagan’s staggering performances throughout the race.
Sagan admits that he has been helped in his quest for green by Sky’s focus on the GC, which has left world champion Mark Cavendish isolated in the sprints. He also believes that his rapidly advancing reputation helped him on Monday’s stage into Pau. “I was surprised that the other sprinters’ teams didn’t work to bring back the breakaway, but I was happy to see that. Now I know that the rest of the riders don’t want to fight with me [for the green jersey] any longer,” he said.
But Sagan isn’t allowing any thoughts of complacency to take hold. He has, he insists, still got plenty to learn. “This is the Tour of my dreams, but I know that I’ve still got to improve a lot of things. I’ve got to get used to the fact that everyone will rider against me if I get into a break, as happened the other day when Luis León [Sánchez] won. I made an important mistake because when the Spaniard attacked, he took advantage of the fact I was eating.”
Sagan says that the only barrier between him and victory in the points competition is the Pyrenees. “If I can get through the mountains OK, I can reach Paris in the green jersey. In the time trial I will hold back some energy for the sprint on the final day,” he added.
Win or not in Paris, Sagan looks likely to be driving home in style.