Peter Sagan's stunning entrance onto the biggest stage in cycling continued when he won his second Tour de France stage in three days this afternoon in Boulogne. But the 22-year-old Slovak sensation says that he's far from finished with this race yet. Having established a clear lead in the points competition, Sagan aims to take the green jersey all the way to Paris.
"I was aware that today's stage could help me with regard to the green jersey because I knew that the sprinters were unlikely to be involved at the finish. So this victory has given me confidence and the green jersey is now a clear objective for me. My hope is that I can now carry the green jersey all the way to Paris," said Sagan.
Having got a bit of buffeting and a good lesson from the sport's top sprinters, Sagan said he is still determined to mix it in the bunch sprints, perhaps as soon as tomorrow when the Tour heads in Rouen. "I'll keep taking part in the bunch sprints because they can help my green jersey ambitions," he said. "On yesterday's stage I could have done with a teammate to set me up for the sprint. I think that as the race progresses the sprinters will start to get tired and that could also help me in the bunch sprints."
Sagan also revealed that his "running" celebration at the finish in Boulogne had been inspired by Forrest Gump. "It came about after asking one of my teammates what kind celebration I should do if I won today. He told me to copy Forrest Gump because they told him to run and that's what he did. And he said the team tells me to win and I win," he said with a bit of giggle.
"I always like to put on a bit of a show for the fans who have come out to watch. When I was younger and watched sport on the TV I used to like seeing moments like that. I used to love seeing Valentino Rossi because he used to celebrate his victories in really memorable ways. Everyone used to watch to see how he would celebrate and I like to entertain the fans in the same way."
Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford was full of praise for the young Slovak, admitting he could be a threat at the Olympics. However, Brailsford added that the flat finish there will suit pure sprinters much more than Sagan.
"I'm not surprised by Sagan's performance based on what we've seen of him over the last few months. When you look at the top riders, you can often see 1 or 2% difference between them and that difference can mean they win a lot of things. Philippe Gilbert did exactly the same and was pretty much untouchable. The difference between Sagan and the others looks big, but it's not that big. At the moment Peter Sagan has got that 1 or 2% difference on the other riders and he positions himself well and he deserves credit for it.
"It's like watching Lionel Messi playing football. You've just to tip your hat and smile. He's enjoyable to watch, isn't he?"
Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).
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