There was no repeat victory for Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) at the Tour de Suisse as the Slovakian national champion finished second behind Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) on Stage 4 in Schwarzenbach SG. Bonus seconds on the line saw Sagan move equal on time with overall race leader Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) and move into the points classification lead. After an underwhelming start to the season which drew ire from team boss Oleg Tinkov in his Cyclingnews blog, Sagan won two stages and the overall at the Tour of California and stage 3 of the Swiss WorldTour race to confirm his improving form ahead of the Tour de France.
"My teammates did a good job. I messed up the finish myself, because I started sprinting too early and then Matthews got ahead of me," Sagan explained. "I blame myself, I made a mistake, but such is the sport. We'll see what happens in the next stages."
Despite rumours of a mid-season transfer, Sagan's agent Giovanni Lombardi assured Cyclingnews yesterday, the 25-year-old will honour his contract until it expires at the end of 2017.
"Does it look like he is suffering at the Tour de Suisse, not supported by a team that does not believe in him? ...Unless they have good reason, Peter will not leave," Lombardi said.
Tinkoff-Saxo port director Sean Yates explained that Tinkoff-Saxo had targeted bonus seconds on the stage to move Sagan into the race lead.
"Today was really a matter of bonus seconds in the intermediate sprints," Yates said. "It was a balancing act because we wanted to focus on the final sprint and the stage win.
"And as we saw, Peter was among the strongest again but Matthews just managed to overtake him on the last 100 flat meters and he finished second. The boys made a good effort and Peter was up there again."
The team's focus turns to Rafał Majka for the queen stage of the race to Rettenbach glacier today with the Polish climber looking to improve upon his current position of 25th on GC, 1:24 minutes down on Dumoulin.
"The boys made a good effort and Peter was up there again," added Yates. "As we said before the race, his first objective is to build shape for Tour de France but if he’s going well, we’ll of course not let a good chance go to waste."