Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has been nothing if not consistent at this year’s Vuelta a Espana, but victory once again eluded him in Bermillo de Sayago on stage 10. The Slovakian world champion finished second to Elia Viviani in the bunch sprint, his third runners-up spot in four stages.
In the frenetic finale, Sagan made sure that he stuck to Viviani’s wheel but didn’t have the power to overhaul the Italian champion once he wound up his sprint. Afterwards, Sagan said that there was nothing he could have done to beat Viviani. There was some consolation as he moved into a familiar position, the leader of the points classification.
“It was a really fast sprint and these sprints aren’t really for me. There was a big tailwind in the sprint and it was really fast with some technical parts. I think Elia is much faster in sprints like this,” Sagan said after the stage. “I didn’t expect to take the green jersey but I got second and I’m happy for that.”
On what was almost a pan-flat stage, Bora-Hansgrohe did their best to shed the pure sprinters before the finish. They drove a hard pace on the one and only difficulty in the 177-kilometre stage, the third category climb of the Alto de Fermoselle. The hefty pace did put the sprinters into difficulty as gaps began appearing through the peloton but it wouldn’t last as the road flattened out. In the final kilometre, Sagan’s teammate Lukas Postlberger tried to escape a move that surprised the world champion.
“It was maybe to try and do something and surprise people, I don’t really know it just happened,” Sagan explained. “The team was really good and they went really fast over the climb but in the end we just regrouped and it ended up in a sprint.”
Sagan is at the Vuelta a Espana to prepare for the defence of his world title, and though he has not quite managed to take the win his run of results is still impressive. The 28-year-old was still recovering from a heavy crash in the final week of the Tour de France when he arrived at the Vuelta and admitted that he hasn’t quite found his full form yet.
“Every season is different, every race is different. For sure, I’m not in the best condition right now and I am still getting into shape,” he said.
There are still several opportunities for Sagan to get a win on the board before the Vuelta finishes, though Wednesday’s rolling stage to Ribeira Sacra will not be one of them, according to Sagan.
“I don’t think so, tomorrow is going to be a breakaway again,” he said. “The day after, we will see.”