Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) played down any pressure and expectation 24 hours before Milan-San Remo, suggesting that he was actually looking forward to the long day in the saddle and that again missing out on victory in the Italian Monument would not be a problem.
Sagan has twice finished second in the Via Roma, in 2013 and 2017, and has yet to add La Classicissima to his rich palmares. But he shrugged any suggestion he was some how under pressure.
"Maybe for somebody it’s a problem. But well, I think in general, in the world, we have much bigger problems than winning or losing a race," Sagan said, suggesting patience is a virtue when it comes to winning Milan-San Remo.
"Milan-San Remo is a special race, perhaps you need to wait to win it. Maybe it's not this year, then you have to try next year, and if it's not next year… It's like the World Championships; you have to wait for your year.
"I was already twice in San Remo where I thought I'm going to win for sure. You see how special this race is?" He asked.
Rather than gaining experience and learning the secrets of the Poggio, Sagan believes it’s simply a matter of waiting for your turn to come up, a matter of cycling destiny.
"It's more a matter of consequences during the race, and luck, the right moments, timing, this kind of thing. Sometimes you can win the race and you don't expect it," he said, encapsulating the unpredictability of Milan-San Remo.
"Experience can help when I feel good and I'm going to be in the front. Or maybe I'm bad and my options change, just to survive."
It was pointed out that Mario Cipollini had to wait a decade before he won his first and only Milan-San Remo.
"Yeah, you see," Sagan said. "But Merckx, how many times did he win San Remo?"
"Then you see how the difference," he said, highlighting the unpredictability of the finely balanced Classic.
Sagan was speaking after attending the presentation of the latest and third edition of the Sagan bike and accessories collection made by Specialized.
He will ride a specially decorated version of the Specialized S-Works Venge at Milan-San Remo and use the same disc-brake bike for the much of the 2019 season, only switching to a disc-brake Specialized Roubaix for Paris-Roubaix.
"It's a very beautiful bike, and very spectacular. Now it's up to me to do something spectacular with it tomorrow," Sagan said after designer Eric Nolan explained the under- and over-exposed theme that inspires the new colours.
Enjoying the seven-hour rider to San Remo
Sagan is one of he favourites to win Milan-San Remo, but he is actually looking forward to enjoying as much of the seven hours in the saddle as he can. We can expect him to ride relaxed in the peloton until the final 50 kilometres and the start of the coastal Capi climbs.
"If it's beautiful weather like today, is an enjoyable race. It's not like the Belgian Classics – Flanders or Roubaix," he suggested with a cheeky smile.
"The Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix start after 10km or even km zero sometimes. There's a big difference. Here you just start, you are going 100km, then you have the Turchino, where you have to be in the front, then after you come down to the coast, then you have another 100km to think just about riding, eating and drinking. The race starts in the last 50km. After 250km you start to be concentrated really in the race, what to do, how you feel – stuff like that. You can enjoy it, Milan-San Remo, and that's nice."
Sagan was more interested in the expected views from the saddle than discussing race tactics or his rivals, if the attacks will come on the Poggio or how the sprint in the Via Roma will unfold.
"We'll see tomorrow…" He said, signing off.
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