Greg Van Avermaet’s winning ride in Tirreno-Adriatico’s stage six to Cepagatti, in central Italy, left a bitter taste for Peter Sagan. Sagan says that sitting on while others work and attacking for the win is not his style.
Van Avermaet used the bonus seconds that came with the win well. Today, he lost seven seconds to Sagan, but kept the blue leader’s jersey on his back by one second to win the overall. Sagan jumped from third to second overall.
In the mix zone while Belgian Van Avermaet celebrated, the world champion appeared upset when asked about yesterday winning move.
“That’s not my style,” Sagan said.
Sagan and his Tinkov team tore apart the sixth stage in Abruzzo. Sagan broke free with team-mates Oscar Gatto and Daniele Bennati after claiming first at the intermediate sprint. He ganged up with Zdenek Stybar and his Etixx-QuickStep team-mates and Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski.
Van Avermaet rode shotgun on the express train, saying in defence that his team-mates Damiano Caruso and Tejay van Garderen were in the group behind.
“His defence… I also had team-mates behind. Also Etixx had teammates behind! I don’t know,” Sagan added.
“I’ve been many times in escapes with Vincenzo Nibali and Joaquím Rodríguez here in Tirreno and they pulled harder. That’s not my style to win like that. However, I can’t say anything because cycling is like that: one pulls and another no. Everyone decides what to do.”
Sagan, still winless since taking the world championship title in September last year, looked on the bright side. He was able to fight for the overall win with organisers cancelling the queen stage with its summit finish to Monte San Vicino due to bad weather.
“OK the race goes how it goes,” he said. “If they had not cancelled the stage we wouldn’t even be here to fight [for the GC], that’s true. Tirreno went well, I lost by one second. I’m not upset, I’m content with how it went. Maybe even more motivated.”
Watch: Pro bikes – Peter Sagan
The world champion will start Milan-San Remo on Saturday as one of the race favourites with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and Van Avermaet.
“My form could be the best in the world, but results count,” he added. “So we are going to have to see after the classics how it goes.”
He said little else. Sagan and his handlers quickly left the mix zone for Tinkoff’s neon yellow bus, which will drive towards Milan and the first monument of the 2016 season: Milan-San Remo.