With two stage wins and victory on the points classification, Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) proved himself as one of the strongest riders in the BinckBank Tour. So much so that on the final stage to Geraardsbergen, the peloton rode against the world champion to ensure he wouldn't be celebrating his 100th professional win at the WorldTour stage race.
The world champion won stage one and stage three and sat second overall until the conclusion of stage 5 when he lost his shot at the overall and podium on the road to Houffalize. Aiming to salvage something from the final day stage, which included the iconic Muur Van Geraardsbergen, Sagan went on the attack with 25km to race.
Sagan's first move was brought back by the peloton before the Slovakian went again on the final climb up the Denderoorberg but a lack of cooperation killed his chances. Sagan was forced to settle for fourth place in the sprint at one second behind stage winner Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo)
"Unlike yesterday, we had better weather today, so that was nice," said Sagan who finished seventh overall. "The finale of the stage was again hard and the rest of the riders weren't collaborating, just looking at me. There is nothing I can do about it – this is the way it is.
Despite missing out on the win, Sagan added he was pleased with his performances in the final month ahead of his Worlds defence in Bergen.
"However, I finished the BinckBank Tour without any crashes and looking back to this week, I'm satisfied with I achieved. Two intense weeks of racing came to an end, first in Poland and then here, and I look forward to Québec and Montreal."
Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Enrico Poitschke echoed the comments of his star rider but added that he and the team can look back on a job well done.
"We tried everything - the team worked perfectly together, they way they have been doing throughout the week, and Peter was really strong," Poitschke said. "But, as it often happens, when Peter is in the group, nobody wants to work with him or close the gap. All in all, we aren’t very satisfied with this week here at the BinckBank Tour. Of course, we won two stages, but we could have achieved more. Peter is in a really good shape and we were very close to the victory."