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Peter Sagan (Cannondale) keeps his hands free on the podium
Fleche definitely Sagan’s last Classic of season
“He will be taking a break after that for sure,” team spokesman Paolo Barbieri told Cyclingnews. “Peter’s next race will be the Tour of California, followed by the Tour de Suisse, his country’s Nationals in the road-race, and then the Tour de France.”
After winning the Brabantse Pijl last Wednesday Sagan finished 36th in the Amstel Gold Race because of severe cramps in the last 30 kilometres, almost certainly, he said afterwards, because of the change in weather conditions - from racing in an exceptionally cold and wet spring for most of this first part of the season to Sunday’s near summer-like heat in the mid-afternoon.
But Cannondale were keen to play down any pressure on Sagan to round off his spectacular 2013 season - which also includes wins in Tirreno-Adriatico and the Gent-Wevelgem one-day race and runners-up spots in Flanders and Milan-San Remo - with one last victory. As Sagan has insisted pre-Amstel, the Cannondale rider has little left to prove by this point in the season.
“The aim is for Peter to gain more experience,” team manager Alberto Volpi said, “and he’s also racing because he’s motivated to do so.”
“Amstel is not a significant factor at all in the equation...we think he can perform well in Fleche although there are all the usual incognitos that surround a rookie ride in a race as difficult as any other Classic.”
Sagan has now raced for 17 days since wining the GP Citta di Camaiore on February 28th, with his first race the Tour de San Luis in Argentina in late January. Since then he has taken eight wins.
Also lining up alongside the Slovakian for Cannondale Fleche Wallone will be Moreno Moser and Damiano Caruso, both of whom Volpi says are specially suited to the challenges presented in the Belgian mid-week Classic. The other riders for Cannondale will be Stefano Agostini, Alessandro De Marchi, Michel Koch, Maciej Paterski and Daniele Ratto.