Despite not picking up a stage win, the two-time world champion is happy with his work in Australia

Double world champion Peter Sagan has opened his season with a happy hit-out at the Tour Down Under, saying that he’s happy with his early season form.

The popular Slovak was the headline act of the 19th edition of the race, which was won by Richie Porte (BMC Racing), improving as the six-stage race went on.

Sagan worked for new Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates at the beginning of the WorldTour opener, supporting Irish sprinter Sam Bennett in the first stage, and overall hopeful Jay McCarthy the next day on the hilltop finish in Paracombe, which ultimately decided the title.

>>> Five things we learned from the 2017 Tour Down Under

From then on the 26-year-old focussed on his own performances, finishing second to Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) in the three remaining sprint stages.

“I feel very good. I’m not in the top shape now but for sure I will be good later,” Sagan said.

The five-time Tour de France green jersey winner was consistent in a race that Australians dominated with Ewan and Porte claiming all stages plus the prelude criterium.


Watch: highlights from stage six of the Tour Down Under


Australians readily admit that they’re often one step ahead of their European counterparts at the Tour, having been able to train in finer conditions over the pre-season and often race in earlier events

Asked if the increasingly hillier course was too difficult for foreigners at this time of year, Sagan said no.

“It was OK I think. The climbs are not too long and the stages are short. It’s really good for us,” he said.

“I heard every year it gets more difficult, harder stages, but still I think I passed this week well. I enjoyed it.”

>>> Watch: Peter Sagan displays some impressive tricks and skills in New Year video

In recent years Sagan has opened his season in equal modest form at the Tour de San Luis in South America, which has now been replaced by the Vuelta a San Juan.

He will return to Europe for a training camp with the new team he earlier this week described as “exquisite”, before focusing on a continent campaign starting with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late February.