Sagan eyes potential Liege-Bastogne-Liege debut in 2019

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has said that he could ride Liège-Bastogne-Liège for the first time in his career next season. Sagan has previously ridden both the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallonne, finishing third in the former in 2012, but has never gone on to contest 'La Doyenne'.

In recent years, Sagan has generally ended his spring at Paris-Roubaix, occasionally stretching it as far as Amstel Gold, and he says he'll have to play it by ear when deciding if he should make his Liège debut in 2019.

"Maybe, maybe. We still don't know because we are going to decide during the season," he told Cyclingnews. "I've never won on that kind of parcours, and I think that it'll be really hard to go from San Remo to Liège, but we'll see."

On his primary ambitions for the season, Sagan was much more certain. When Cyclingnews asked what he's missing from his palmarès that he would like to win, he said, "San Remo," before the answer was complete, but then added, "and another Flanders and Roubaix, maybe."

Sagan made his Milan-San Remo debut in 2011, finishing 17th, and 27 seconds behind the winner. He has been knocking on the door of victory ever since. He has finished in the top 10 in six of the past seven editions and came painfully close to the win last season when he was edged out by Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky).

Sagan's first monument victory came in Belgium when he won the 2016 Tour of Flanders with a long-range attack. It took two years and a similar move for Sagan to take his second Monument at this year's Paris-Roubaix.

"I'm very happy for this year because it was special to win Roubaix with the rainbow jersey," he said.

Whereas Monuments have been harder to come by, Tour de France green jerseys have come thick and fast for the 28-year-old. He came into this season with five green jerseys in his pocket and an opportunity to equal Erik Zabel's all-time record of six. He could have been vying for an opportunity to break the record had he not been disqualified from the Tour de France the previous season. Despite the upset of the year before, Sagan said that he didn't go into the Tour this summer with a monkey on his back.

"No – it was OK," Sagan told Cyclingnews. "The decision was done, and afterwards the UCI came to me to apologise for the decision. We cannot turn back time and I just went into the Tour de France like it was the biggest race in the world."

Sagan did as he had set out to do, and took yet another points classification victory, beating Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) by a massive 231-point margin. It put him in an elite club of two, although he said that the record had not been in the back of his mind.

"I was thinking about making it six in a row, but after last year, that was impossible," he joked.

It wasn't plain sailing for Sagan, and, at times, it seemed as though he might lose his grip on a sixth green jersey for the second year running. A rare crash on a descent during the short stage 17 from Bagnères-de-Luchon to Saint-Lary-Soulan left him with cuts and bruises to his legs and back, and he had to battle through the final major mountain stage – a day he called his toughest on the bike – to ensure his place in Paris. It was a small lapse in concentration that Sagan was all too aware could have thrown away almost three weeks of work.

"I was thinking about just finishing one stage – that hard stage [stage 19 - ed], where I was in trouble from the start with the small climbs. Afterwards, I thought, 'I have to finish the stage, no matter what. I have to finish, and then I'll be OK. Then I'll finish the Tour de France.' I was never thinking about giving up.

"On the podium [for the green jersey], I was thinking, 'What a stupid crash.' It was a long day, and maybe I was too relaxed, and so I made a mistake in the turn and crashed very badly. I risked the whole Tour de France for nothing."

With more than 13,000 kilometres on the clock this year, Sagan heads into the off-season before beginning his 2019 campaign at the Tour Down Under, followed by the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

Peter Sagan was speaking at the launch of his book, My World, at an event hosted by Hansgrohe showers and taps

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