Peter Sagan is hoping to wear the Tour de France race leader’s maillot jaune, the yellow jersey, before going on to fight for a second points competition green jersey in this year’s 100th edition of the Grand Boucle. The Slovak will be the sole leader of the Cannondale team.
Sagan proved he will be at his very best in for the opening stages of the Tour de France by winning two stages at the Tour de Suisse. He was able to handle the hilly stages and then had the speed to beat his rival in the sprint to the line. He also won two stages at the Amgen Tour of California and won the points jersey yet again.
The 23 year-old Slovakian won three stages in the 2012 and took the green jersey. With this year’s Tour de France beginning with three road stages in Corsica before travelling to Nice for the team time trial, Sagan is targeting a few days in yellow as well as a second green jersey. A good performance in the stage four team time trial could see Sagan stay in yellow all the way to the Pyrenees.
As a result Sagan and his Cannondale spent Monday morning training for the contre-la-montre par équipes in Italy.
“We would like to try to be in the yellow jersey in the first part of the Tour and so the time trial is a very important part of this plan," Sagan said in a press conference at home in Slovakia as he prepared for Sunday’s national championships.
"Last year we had Vincenzo Nibali in the team who was an overall contender. Now I’m the leader. My goal is clear: to defend my green jersey and get the most stage wins I can. It won’t be easy because I’ll be up against Cavendish, Greipel and Goss. You can’t have a bad day, you’ve got to choose the right tactics and you need a strong team.”
"The Tour de France is a special race. The first week is very important. There’s a lot of nervousness and crashes happen that even take out overall contenders. You always have to fight for position and the racing shows who is the very best.”
A team of domestiques
Sagan will have the whole support of the Cannondale team this year. The final line-up is packed with sprinting domestiques, including Maciej Bodnar, Kristijan Koren, Alessandro De Marchi, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Ted King and Brian Vandborg.
"There will be riders who can work on the front of the peloton to help the chase and to help in the final sprint,” Sagan confirmed. “The team will also include riders who can help me on the climbs. Most sprinters will be dropped on the climbs but with the help of my teammates I hope to stay at the front.”
Sagan has raced in a special Slovak national champion’s jersey since winning the title for the first time in June 2011. He hopes to continue in the jersey at the Tour by winning a third successive title on Sunday in Dubnica.
"I’m glad that the championship is held near my home for the second year in a row. It's a good test for me before the Tour de France,” he said.
“It’s a unique race for me and it’s actually harder than the Tour of Switzerland because I'm going to have to take on teams that have lots of different riders.”
Cannondale for the 100th Tour de France: Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Kristijan Koren, Alessandro De Marchi, Alan Marangoni, Fabio Sabatini, Ted King and Brian Vandborg.