Sagan not getting carried away with hype about his potential
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sagan not getting carried away with hype about his potential

by VeloNation Press at 5:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
Liquigas Cannondale rider doesn’t rule out trying for overall classification in California

Peter SaganHe’s dominated the Amgen Tour of California thus far with three stage wins plus a grip on the leader’s jersey for the general classification, the points standings and the best young rider. Peter Sagan’s performance has earned him plenty of praise plus renewed predictions that he could have a very impressive future ahead, but the Slovakian has said that he isn’t taking that potential for granted.

“I’m aware that people are talking like this about me but I try not to listen as I’d rather stay who I am,” he said after yesterday’s victory into Livermore. “There are a lot of riders who’ve gone up quickly but who have fallen as well; I’d rather keep climbing.”

Part of the reason for those predictions is that Sagan is still just 22 years of age. He’s already taken many big wins, including stages in the Vuelta a Espana and the overall classification in last year’s Tour of Poland, and appears to be gathering momentum all the time.

Clearly in strong shape in California, he’s not ruling out pushing for the final overall classification, even if he knows that the hilly stages ahead will be a challenge.

“This race is very hard for me because there’s a very long climb and the finish on the mountain [Mount Baldy – ed.] is very hard as well,” said Sagan. “But, I did very good today and this suits me. Maybe I will try hard to keep the yellow jersey one more day and after the time trial we’ll see.”

Sagan admitted that his victory yesterday was a surprise to him. He actually looked like he wasn’t going to go for the sprint, being quite far back with two kilometres to go, but quickly moved up to the front closer to the line, rounded the final bend in a very good position, then blasted home ahead of Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Barracuda) and Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma Quick Step).

That apparent nonchalance about his positioning continued on from other displays of calmness this week, not least his rides in returning from punctures on stages one and two.

The impression is that he is a rider in very strong form, and who knows that he has sufficient strength to recover from situations such as those punctures and his positioning yesterday.

There were reports after yesterday’s stage that a protest had been lodged about him making contact with another rider close to the line. Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Barracuda) denied afterwards that he had lodged a complaint; if someone else did, it didn't result in a change to the result.

Sagan insisted that nothing untoward had happened, and that he was simply ensuring there would be no clash. “There was a rider going in the group and I thought it was dangerous the way I was coming, so I reached out to let him know I was there,” he said. “In the last kilometre, when it’s all the sprinters together it’s one thing, but when other riders come into the group, it can become a dangerous situation. So we’ll reach out just to make sure they know where we are.”

Today’s fourth stage runs from Sonora to Clovis and at 209.6 kilometres, is the longest of the race. Sagan said that he wasn’t sure if his team would ride to set up a bunch gallop or not; however, if another win is in reach as the bunch hurtles towards the finish, expect the Slovakian’s competitive instinct to kick in and for him to chase victory number four.


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