Roman Kreuziger was invited onto the final podium at Paris-Nice to receive the award for best young rider but the Liquigas – Doimo leader was disappointed he had lost third spot on GC prior to the start of the final stage.
He was knocked off the podium by Luis Leon Sanchez (Caisse d'Epargne) who gained two seconds in a hot spot sprint, won by his team-mate Peter Sagan.
“I’m really disappointed”, Kreuziger told Cyclingnews after stage 7. “I very much wanted to make the top three. It’s a pity the race result was decided by time bonus, although I admit Luis Leon was stronger on the climbs than me. The top three is something that remains in the record books but nobody remembers the best young rider of Paris-Nice. I like the white jersey though.”
Kreuziger, 23, has another two Tours de France to contest the white jersey for which Andy Schleck will still be eligible in 2010 but not in 2011. “I shouldn’t complain too much because I’m obviously happy with my condition and also with my results”, he added.
Before Paris-Nice, he won the Tour of Sardegna. “Had I been told at the beginning of the year that I’d come fourth at Paris-Nice, I wouldn’t have believed it.”
Kreuziger first came to attention at Paris-Nice when he finished second in the prologue behind behind David Millar in 2007.
This year it was the turn of his young Slovakian team-mate Peter Sagan who was the true sensation of the race and won two stages, took fifth in the prologue and the points classification. “He has amazed everybody”, Kreuziger said. “Even in our team, we didn’t expect him to deliver such great results.”