Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) returns as one of the favourites to win a stage at the Amgen Tour of California, after winning two stages last year. Despite the predicted foul weather conditions he is eyeing a stage one victory in North Lake Tahoe on Sunday.
"I looked at the stage profiles and tomorrow one of the problems is that we are at altitude," Sagan said. "Whether it ends in a sprint or in a small group, I will play it by ear and do my best to give it a go, in either case."
Sagan opened last season with two stage wins at Paris-Nice and a stage win at the Tour of Romandie. He dominated the Amgen Tour of California by winning two stages and securing both the green sprinter's jersey and the white young rider's jersey.
"Last year, I had a different program leading up into this race as an objective," Sagan said. "This year, the last race I did was Amstel Gold, which was an important race, but it was not necessarily an objective. I took three weeks off and now I'm starting the Tour of California fresh.
"I would still like to win a stage here though," he added. "But I don't think I'm in good form enough to go for a special jersey. I'll have to take it day-by-day."
Following the Amgen Tour of California, Sagan will remain stateside until the TD Bank Philadelphia International Cycling championships held on June 5, where he hopes to improve on his second place performance from last year.
"I really like the course, but last year I felt awful on the first four laps," Sagan said. "I came back and got second to Matt Goss. I like the course because there aren't a lot of hills, just the wall."
Sagan is targeting a strong performance at the Tour de Suisse held from June 11-19. "Tour de Suisse is my objective," he said. "There is also a chance that I could go to the Vuelta a Espana this year and I'm happy about that because there will be a lot of opportunity for me there."
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Kirsten Frattini is the Deputy Editor of Cyclingnews, overseeing the global racing content plan.
Kirsten has a background in Kinesiology and Health Science. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's biggest races, reporting on the WorldTour, Spring Classics, Tours de France, World Championships and Olympic Games.
She began her sports journalism career with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. In 2018, Kirsten became Women's Editor – overseeing the content strategy, race coverage and growth of women's professional cycling – before becoming Deputy Editor in 2023.