Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished on the podium yet again at the Vuelta a San Juan on Wednesday but had to settle for second place behind Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) despite arguably being the fastest in the final 200 metres.
Sagan was behind the UAE Team Emirates and Deceuninck-QuickStep lead outs in the finishing straight and had to move around his Bora-Hansgrohe teammate to get on their wheels. When Gaviria kicked along the barriers, Sagan had to commit to following him and was momentarily blocked in by Simone Consonni, who had set up Gaviria perfectly. Sagan hesitated and then kicked when a gap opened, he moved up alongside Gaviria and was travelling fast, but the finish line appeared before he could get past him.
“Nobody really closed me in. Every sprint is different, and I was a bit far back. That’s all. What else could I do?” Sagan told Cyclingnews after the stage.
“I’m not sure what happened. I’ve still got see it and understand. It’s a pity. The stage played out as expected, with a fast bunch sprint to the finish. We worked well in the last kilometres and after the last turn, I got into the final straight in the front too. I had the legs today. I went at full speed but it wasn't enough and I missed the victory at the finish line."
Sagan revealed that a constant headwind had made for a quiet, steady day in the peloton, with everyone waiting for the sprint. Limited team sizes of just six riders means that the sprint trains waited for the final kilometres before trying to hit the front and lead out their sprinters.
“We went pretty steady and slow today,” he said. "There was a gradual climb, but we were riding into a headwind and so we were hardly pedalling in the peloton. It was a long stage but easy."
The Vuelta a San Juan peloton enjoys an unusual rest day on Thursday after four of the seven stages. The racing resumes on Friday with the Queen stage to Alto Colorado, featuring a mountain finish at 2,565 metres.
Sagan has been enjoying the late stage starts so far in the Vuelta a San Juan and made it clear he has no ambitions for the mountain stage, despite its gradual gradient.
“Perhaps I’ll win tomorrow…” he joked, determined to enjoy another lazy morning and not think about the mountain stage to come.
His chances of sprint success will come on stages 6 and 7 at the weekend.
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