After top-ten finishes in each of the last three years, Peter Sagan is once again among the favourites for Milan-San Remo

Peter Sagan has played down reports that he’s the favourite for Milan-San Remo on Sunday, but will head to the Italian Classic with a strong Tinkoff-Saxo team behind him.

The Slovak, who won the penultimate stage at Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, is a perennial contender at La Primavera, finishing in the top ten on the last three occasions, but is yet to win one of cycling’s five Monuments.

Such is Sagan’s power on the bike he is one of the few riders in the peloton who could contend in a bunch sprint, such as with his tenth place last year, or if a smaller group breaks away towards the end, like his second-place finish in 2013.

“I’m heading to Milan-San Remo to deliver a top result just like at any other race,” Sagan told the Tinkoff-Saxo website. “When the team or I start a race, the ultimate goal is to win. But in cycling you never know and you have to be realistic.

“My competitors have the same goals and sometimes you win and sometimes you don’t. But Milan-San Remo is special and I’ll naturally be at the start with big ambitions.”

With changes made to the 293km route, the race looks set for a sprint finish, with reigning champion Alexander Kristoff and 2009 winner Mark Cavendish building their early season around winning the title.

>>> Milan-San Remo 2015: Who will win?

But even though Sagan, 25, finds himself among the favourites once again, he points out that recent history has shown that being the favourite doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be in contention at the end of the epic route.

“It’s difficult to point out a favourite. In the last three years, we haven’t seen the favourites taking the victory and instead it has been outsiders, who crossed the finish line first.

“It’s a special and unpredictable race due to many factors such as the length of the race and the tactical situations. All I can do is to try my best knowing that I’m backed by a strong and motivated team.”

Tinkoff-Saxo squad for Milan-San Remo: Peter Sagan, Matteo Tosatto, Daniele Bennati, Maciej Bodnar, Matti Breschel, Roman Kreuziger, Chris Juul-Jensen, Manuele Boaro