The Tinkoff rider was one of the favourites for the sprint Classic – won by Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) from a solo break – but had to settle for seventh place because other riders were reluctant to work with him.
“I tried a few times to set up the chase, but apparently it is difficult to work with me. It will be my destiny,” Sagan said after the race.
The Slovakian isn’t alone in his plight – Boonen seemed unhappy with his breakaway colleagues for not working together to keep the peloton at bay.
In last year’s Paris-Roubaix, John Degenkolb put on a masterclass after being left in a similar position – chasing on his own because of the threat he would cause in a bunch sprint at the end – and Fabian Cancellara has been forced to do the dirty work for years because his rivals know he’ll blow them apart at the finish.
Sagan’s right, he’s destined to struggle to find willing participants to help him win races from outside his team, but it’s how he will deal with it that will determine what kind of champion he is.