Sagan under pressure because of heat at Tour of California, rallies for third
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Sagan under pressure because of heat at Tour of California, rallies for third

by Shane Stokes at 8:32 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of California
Muliple stage winner comes up slightly short on opening day

Peter SaganWinner last year of an unprecedented five stages in one edition, Peter Sagan has lined out in the Tour of California again aiming to clock up several victories in the race. However while he was strongest in the bunch gallop to the line yesterday in Escondido, the bunch was unable to overcome a two man break comprising Lieuwe Westra (Vacansoleil-DCM) and Francisco Mancebo (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda).

As a result Sagan had to be satisfied with third place; a solid result, but not the one he was hoping for.

“It's always harder and harder to win because the other riders expect it of me,” he said afterwards, commenting on his status as favourites in stages such as that.

However while he was clearly identified as the man to beat, he admitted that he wasn’t quite at his best in the closing stages. “When I come to the front for the finish, I only had 90% left,” he said, referring to his chase back after being gapped on the climb of Cole Grade, and also to the cramps he suffered in the final kilometres. He’s clear that the high temperatures were largely at fault for both situations. “Today was very hard for me also because in Europe it was a bit colder and it was just so hot today.”

Despite those two factors, Sagan would have won the stage had Westra and Mancebo been hauled back before the line. He suggests that the other sprinters’ teams also had a responsibility to control things but didn’t do so.

“Other teams didn't want to work with us, especially with twenty kilometres to go, so our team was a bit tired at the end. They worked so hard and did a great job.”

On this occasion, it wasn’t enough. However providing he can adjust to the heat, he has several opportunities in the coming days to add to a season tally which has already netted him eight victories this year.

The Tour of California continues today with a 200 kilometre race from Murrieta to Greater Palm Springs. It finishes on a climb and so it is quite uncertain if Sagan will be a factor, but the Cannondale rider will certainly try.


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