Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) enjoyed a moment on the Tirreno-Adriatico podium on Friday but it was only to pull the red point jersey over his world champion’s rainbow jersey and not for the victory he has been chasing since he won the world title last October in Richmond.
Sagan has racked up four second places since pulling on the rainbow jersey and taken five other top ten places, all in just 17 days of racing with the winter and busy off-season in between. Sagan is a contender in the high-speed sprints such as Friday’s stage to Montalto di Castro but also in Classics like Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Strade Bianche and even hilly stage finishes such as Thursday’s stage to Pomarance.
“Every sprint is different and today went as it did… I can’t complain,” Sagan said in the mixed zone after pulling on the red jersey that confirmed his consistency in Tirreno-Adriatico. He finished fourth on stage 3, behind stage winner Fernando Gaviria, but that was enough to unseat overall race leader Zdenek Stybar from the points classification lead.
“These guys are really fast and I did my best against them," Sagan said. "I can only thank the team for doing a great job for me in the finale. There was nothing else I could do. It’s important to be up there. I think my form is good. We’ll see I can do in the next dew days. There are still chances for me in this year’s race.”
“My consistency proves that I’m in a good shape. When there are hills at the end, I’m up there. When it’s flat I’m up there as well. Today I’ve been a victim of those who came from behind in full speed but I’m happy with how it has gone so far in this race."
A win will come
Sagan was perfectly placed with 250 metres to go despite pushing aside Federico Zurlo (Lampre-Merida) while exiting a corner, as the Italian tried to move in on the wheel of Sagan’s leadout man. He then made the mistake of hesitating as his teammate sat up and he other sprinters jumped past him in a split second and went on to fight for victory. Despite starting his sprint from behind, Sagan powered his way back up and finished fourth being Gaviria, Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) and Elia Viviani (Team Sky).
“There are some riders who don’t understand a thing in the final kilometre. If one of my teammates is leading me out in the sprint, then another rider shouldn’t get in the way,” Sagan lamented before sportingly admitting defeat.
“Okay, it didn’t really affect my sprint, the guys came past me from behind and were faster than me in the final two hundred metres. I wanted to accelerate too but it was difficult as the road rose up.”
Sagan shrugged off any suggestions that the only thing missing from his season so far is a victory.
“Who’s missing a win? I’m happy with my form and my racing. I think a win will come. Let’s hope it's one of the right ones, one of the big ones,” he said.
“We’ll focus on the future. Tomorrow will be a good day for sure. We will see, we’ll try and see how it’s going. A race is a race and every day is different. Tirreno-Adriatico is far from over and I think I can aim at a stage win. In addition, the season's main goals still lie ahead and we are working to reach them.”