Tinkoff-Saxo's Peter Sagan was one of few riders in a lead group that survived the strong crosswinds that shattered the peloton during stage 2 at the Tour of Qatar on Monday. The 25-year-old sprinter finished fourth on the day and moved into the lead of the young rider category.
“It was a really tough day,” Sagan said. “We had headwinds at the start, which then soon after turned into crosswinds and lasted for almost the rest of the stage. It was a battle throughout the day with many splits and gaps.
“Overall, I think it was a good day for me and for Tinkoff-Saxo, as we had two guys in the leading group. I’m very motivated and we all look forward to tomorrow’s time trial, which will be very important.”
Sagan and his teammate Maciej Bodnar finished among the 15-rider lead group that arrived first to the finish line in Al Khor Corniche. Katusha’s Alexander Kristoff won the stage ahead of Astana’s Andrea Guardini and BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet, leaving Sagan to settle for fourth place. The Norwegian sprinter is now leading the overall classification.
Sagan also finished fourth place in the opening stage despite crashing with Etixx-QuickStep’s Tom Boonen mid-race. For now, Tinkoff-Saxo are satisfied with their results over the first two stages of the six-day race, but hope for more in the coming days.
Currently in seventh overall, Sagan will have to make up for the 10-second gap to Kristoff if he wants to swap out the white young rider jersey for the gold leader’s jersey. That won’t be an easy task with the stage 3 time trial on Tuesday. Although it’s a short 10.9 kilometres on the Lusail Circuit, it will surely shake up the general classification even further.
“I think the team did a great job. At some point we had six guys in the front group and we finished with our two leaders, Sagan and Bodnar, in the front group,” said Tinkoff-Saxo director Tristan Hoffman. “Sagan has the white jersey and they are both in the top 10 ahead of the time trial tomorrow, so we are satisfied.”
Watch the onboard video footage of Sagan out for a training ride prior to the start of the Tour of Qatar.
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