When Peter Sagan joined the up-and-coming Bora-Hansgrohe squad for its first WorldTour season, there were doubts as to whether the team was up to the task of leading out the world champion against other, more established, sprint squads. But on stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse, the team demonstrated that it was more than capable of supporting Sagan, and he in turn showed that his speed is on target ahead of his Tour de France green jersey defence.
It wasn't a typical run-in on a short, fast, technical circuit in Schaffhausen, but the green helmets and black jerseys of Bora-Hansgrohe could be seen at the front of the race consistently as the kilometers ticked down. On the final lap, Marcus Burghardt marked a dangerous move containing Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) and Michael Matthews (Sunweb), and then reeled in a counter-attack from Trek's Fabio Felline.
Into the final kilometers, Sagan was led by his teammates and then finished off their work with a commanding victory over Sacha Modolo (UAE Team Emirates) - extending his record of career stage wins in the Tour de Suisse to 15.
"It was a very good day for us and once again I have to thank my teammates for their strong effort," Sagan said. "We were practically the only ones to control the race today, so they did an excellent job. I'm happy for my second stage win this year – my fifteenth overall. The Tour de Suisse is a race I like, although it's too early to talk about next year. I hope I can come back."
Directeur sportif Jan Valach was suitably proud of the team's work and the outcome on the day. "Today's excellent victory for Peter Sagan was the result of perfect teamwork by every single rider of the team," Valach said. "The stage started with a very strong pace, and our plan from the morning was to be in control from the outset. We put riders in the front from the first metres with the aim of also being able to assess this very fast and technical circuit.
"Juraj Sagan was the first to pull hard in the front, followed by Michael Kolar. In the last lap, it was up to Jay McCarthy, Maciej Bodnar and Marcus Burghardt to do the tough job. Jay was brilliant and closed nearly one minute on the breakaway on his own. He had incredible legs. We are happy to see how Peter got off in the final sprint and I think he showed he has very good form."
The Tour de Suisse concludes on Sunday with a 28.6km time trial.
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