Peter Sagan: “Races are won and lost, but you always have to try.”
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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Peter Sagan: “Races are won and lost, but you always have to try.”

by Ben Atkins at 4:14 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Milan-Sanremo
Slovakian champion philosophical after Sanremo sprint defeat

peter saganPeter Sagan (Cannondale) started the Milano-Sanremo as the outstanding favourite for victory after his performances this season so far, but found himself narrowly beaten in the sprint by Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka). The Slovakian champion had seemingly done everything right up until that point, having used his teammates to get him into position on the Poggio, then followed the counterattack over the top.

It was Sagan’s descending skills that had pulled the four-man chase group up to the two leaders - Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) - but he found himself second best in the final dash for the line.

“Maybe today wasn’t my day” Sagan conceded philosophically afterwards. “Races are won and lost, but you always have to try. It was the first classic of the season, my first objective. I arrived to play my hand and I take it as a good signal looking ahead to the next one.”

Despite being known as la Classicissima di Primavera - the most beautiful Classic of the Spring - the 2013 Milano-Sanremo found itself battling the elements of winter as it crossed the hills on the way to the Ligurian coastal resort. The peloton missed almost 50km of the course, as the Passo del Turchino was made impassable by snow which, unusually, gave riders an chance to warm up and rest after the tough start.

“It was a real strange race,” said Sagan. “It was freezing, snow, rain, and then the bus transfer. Surely Ciolek was a surprise, but San Remo is a race like this… you think about the favourites and then an outsider wins.”

Sagan shared the favourite tag with 2010 race winner Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), who finished second in both of the previous editions of the race. The Swiss powerhouse played the finale very differently to last year, however, where he allowed eventual winner Simon Gerrans (GreenEdge) to sit on his wheel all the way to the finish; it was perhaps Sagan’s preoccupation with Cancellara that cost him the victory.

“Near the finish I expected a move from Cancellara and thought I was the fastest, but I underestimated the group,” Sagan admitted. “I worked too hard earlier and paid for that in my legs. I jumped too early in the sprint and paid for that too.

“I’m disappointed, but it’s also an experience,” he added. “A second place in an important classic like Milano-Sanremo is not bad.”


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