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Sagan shows he is ready for Tour de France cobbles showdown

Tour de France: Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) cheered by fans at a stage start in Denmark
Tour de France: Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) cheered by fans at a stage start in Denmark (Image credit: MARCO BERTORELLO AFP via Getty Images)

Peter Sagan (Team TotalEnergies) continued his run of placing at the Tour de France on stage 4, indicating that he is on form and ready for Wednesday’s stage across the Paris-Roubaix cobbles.

The Slovakian was fifth in Calais, as Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Fenix) thought he had won and celebrated with his arms in the air, a few seconds behind real winner and solo attacker Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma). 

Sagan is always a danger and often there when races explode, and he intends to be in the thick of the action on Wednesday.       

While the overall contenders and pure climbers at the Tour de France fear the Paris-Roubaix cobbles stage could wreck their race, for Sagan it is a day of opportunity and a chance to win one of the most prestigious stages of this year’s race.

Sagan has raced the Tour de France 11 times and has won 12 stages and seven green jerseys during his now long and successful career. His palmares also include three World titles, the Tour of Flanders in 2016 and Paris-Roubaix in 2018. A victory in Wallers at the Arenberg Porte du Hainaut on Wednesday would arguably be his best-ever win in July and have a place amongst his best victories. 

He would also prove that at 32, after moving to TotalEnergies and recovering from COVID-19 a third time, he is far from done.

“Guys like me who do the Classics, have more experience and specific skills for the cobbles than the GC riders and the climbers. That should be an advantage for us. I want to do well,” he told Cyclingnews.  

Sagan’s renowned bike skills give him a significant advantage on the cobbles but even he is happy to see the weather forecast for dry and warm weather conditions. Sagan could benefit more from a fast, dusty race than an uncontrollable skate over the pavé if it rains.   

“If it’s a nice day and dry, that’s better for everyone. We did a cobbled stage in the rain back in 2014 and that was a disaster,” he said, recalling the 2014 Tour de France when Lars Boom won the wet and muddy stage and Vincenzo Nibali gained enough time to set up overall victory. 

Sagan also raced on the cobbles in the 2015 Tour de France, when he helped then-Tinkoff-Saxo leader Alberto Contador and finished third, and again in 2018, when he was fifth, only a few seconds behind stage winner John Degenkolb.

“I’ve done a few. I did the one with Alberto, and then when it rained in 2014 with Cannondale,” he recalled.

“Going for the cobbled stage isn’t like riding Paris-Roubaix,” Sagan pointed out. “It’s different because you're in the midst of the Tour de France and usually there’s a lot of racing still to come.

“There’s also the GC battle that changes the strategy of lots of teams and so the way almost everyone races. That’ll make it a very interesting stage," he added.

"What will happen? We’ll see… For sure I still have something to say in my career. That’s why I’m in the Tour de France.”

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Stephen Farrand
Stephen Farrand

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.