Peter Sagan made his father and his wife wait patiently outside the Tinkoff bus after the hectic conclusion of Milan-San Remo but when he emerged, any anger and disappointed had largely faded away and he was happy to sign numerous autographs before analyzing his performance.
"I did my very best, the team worked really well too but that's racing..." he said, caring little that he finished 12th in the sprint behind winner Arnaud Demare (FDJ).
"Milan-San Remo is a crazy race, that's why it's useless doing all the press conferences and to speak a lot before the race. Milan-San Remo is always like that."
Sagan had looked strong during the finale of Milan-San Remo and made a decisive effort to close down a dangerous attack by Fabian Cancellara (Trek-Segafredo) in the final two kilometres on the flat roads of San Remo.
"When Cancellara attacked, I said: 'If I let him go, San Remo is over,'" Sagan explained, going on to explain the moment that cost him a chance of victory.
"I think I was the only one who could have closed that gap. Then I got away with Boasson Hagen, Gaviria and someone else. Then with about 500 metres to go, Gaviria looked around because the group was coming up. He went down and I only just managed to avoid him. I stayed up but I lost a lot speed and never managed to get going again in the final metres."
Sagan will head to Belgium on Wednesday and ride E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem before the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. He knows he has more chances this spring to win a major Classic but he seemed to know he might not always be on great form.
"People say that when a rider is strong then things come easily but racing is never easy," he said, before climbing into a car and heading home to nearby Monaco.
The atmosphere at the Tinkoff bus after Sagan left was quiet with an air of disappointment. The team had ridden well, protecting Sagan on the Cipressa and Poggio by closing gaps but Gaviria's crash hit Sagan's chances and meant the team headed home still without a victory by the world champion and heir team leader.
There was no sense of anger, with Oscar Gatto, who helped Sagan on the Poggio, insisting that their time will come sooner or later.
"Victory is made up of a number of components and luck is one of them. Unfortunately, this component is taking time to come for us," Gatto said. “The team is performing well and I'm convinced the results will come. The beautiful but unfortunate fact about the Milan-San Remo is that it always remains wide open. We are strong, Peter is strong but again we need a bit of luck. We will keep fighting and I think that before mid-April we will get the result we look forward to."
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