Peter Sagan (Cannondale) was widely expected to take a top result in the Amstel Gold Race, but instead was forced to settle for a lowly 36th. The Slovakian champion, who was third in Amstel in 2012, and who won the key Amstel warm-up race, Brabantse Pijl, on Wednesday, said he felt ill in the last part of the race and could not make the running as he had expected.
"I felt rough, about 30 to 40 kilometres to go," Sagan told reporters afterwards. "It wasn't ideal but there wasn't anything I could do, I was cramping up."
Sagan said he tried as best as he could to play a part in the finale, but his strength was ebbing fast.
"When [Philippe] Gilbert (BMC) attacked, I wanted to follow him, but it simply wasn't possible. I didn't have the strength to do it."
"I think was because it was a warm day. In last two months I always raced with low temperatures, today my legs suffered in the change of the weather."
Reports earlier this week strongly suggested that Sagan will end his Classics campaign at Amstel Gold, having already won Gent-Wevelgem, two stages of Tirreno, Brabantse Pijl and taken second places in Milan-San Remo, Flanders and E3-Prijs Vlaanderen. He is also second overall in the WorldTour rankings, behind Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack).
Sagan confirmed in a press release that he would decide about Fleche Wallonne tomorrow.
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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