Tour of California: Sagan dominating, but doesn’t believe he’ll keep yellow today
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tour of California: Sagan dominating, but doesn’t believe he’ll keep yellow today

by VeloNation Press at 5:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
 
Slovakian plays down time trial chances

Peter SaganPeter Sagan has kept a perfect record to date in the Amgen Tour of California, with the Slovakian clocking up his fourth consecutive stage win yesterday in Clovis, but he believes that his winning streak plus his tenure in the race leader’s jersey will come to an end today.

“Tomorrow I think the jersey will go bye-bye,” he said at yesterday’s press conference. “The time trial is for the top racers; it’s not for me.”

Sagan will start the race against the clock with a handy buffer over the general classification contenders; he’s sixteen seconds ahead of fellow sprinter Heinrich Haussler (Garmin Barracuda), who took his fourth second place yesterday, and 34 seconds ahead of Jeff Louder (UnitedHealthcare).

Haussler’s team-mate Alex Howes is a second further back and looks threatening, while the main GC favourites are all at forty seconds. They will each try to overcome their deficit to Sagan today.

However even if Sagan loses the lead, he may end up close to the top of the general classification; if he can then repeat his 2010 victory at Big Bear, he could find himself back in the American version of the Maillot Jaune.

“Tomorrow I might lose this jersey because I have to do the time trial,” he said. “Maybe I’ll try for the Big Bear stage but we’ll see.”

At this point in time, Sagan prefers not to worry too much about what might happen. He wanted to focus on the now after yesterday’s victory, savouring the feeling of another win rather than thinking about whether or not he can keep yellow. On past form, Saturday’s stage to Mount Baldy could see him slip back anyway.

Of his fourth consecutive stage win, many predicted that he could do it but he said that he himself had doubts.

“It is a surprise. Today was a very hard day and the weather was very hot. In the climb, I put water on my head because of the heat,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting another victory but after the last climb my teammate, Daniel Oss, said to me, ‘Today we win another stage.’”

That prompt ended up being enough. “I said, ‘I don’t think so,’ but after he made the suggestion, I said to myself, ‘Yeah, okay. We’ll try.’ We did and now we are very happy. So thank you to all my teammates…”

They will be equally thankful to him, given that his four victories, his tenure in the yellow jersey plus his leadership of the points and best young rider classifications has guaranteed the squad important publicity in a significant race for the team. At a more immediate level, it has also built up a large pot of prizemoney which will be doled out between them. He's taken the glory, but they'll all share the spoils.

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