Peter Sagan: I'm not afraid of a wet Paris-Roubaix

2018 champion says wet conditions could make this weekend's race an extra special edition

Peter Sagan
(Image credit: Getty )

Peter Sagan says he won't fear the conditions if Paris-Roubaix is blighted by wet weather on Sunday, adding that it could make the 118th one an extra special one.

Champion in 2018, Sagan has experienced the Roubaix cobbles in wet and windy conditions, though that was part of the cobbled Tour de France stage in 2014.

>>> Who are the bookies' favourites for Paris-Roubaix 2021?

The forecast for the 2021 race says there's a strong chance of some rain on the Hell of the North, and Sagan will be aiming to go out on a high in his final race for Bora-Hansgrohe. The three-time world champion finished fifth in the race's last running in 2019, and has shown glimmers of form this year with his Giro d'Italia stage win and points jersey victory, as well as his overall win at the Tour of Slovakia this month.

“I have never ridden an edition of Paris-Roubaix in the rain,” Sagan told Belga

“Sometimes it's wet on a few slivers from the rain in the days before, but on the day itself we never got any rain on us. 

"I do remember the 2014 Roubaix ride. It was very special. Well, a Roubaix stage in the Tour is always different because the classification riders also have their interests. In the spring you only see the classic riders, in the Tour everyone is even more nervous. I remember that then on the first stretch everything fell apart and it went really fast, from the start in Ypres to the end.

"No, I'm not going to be afraid if it's wet, but I do know that it will be special."

“Anyway, you can't compare those few lanes in a Roubaix stage in the Tour with the real Roubaix. That is a battle of attrition and rain makes it even more difficult. I know that from 2014.”

Until his victory in 2018, Sagan had struggled to impact on Roubaix as he had done at races like the Tour of Flanders or the World Championships. His sixth place in 2014 was followed by three years outside the top-10 before he finally decimated the field of favourites to win the cobbled Monument.

Because of that the 31-year-old, who moved to Team Total Energies in 2022, admits he has a "love-hate relationship" with Paris-Roubaix, explaining that luck hasn't been on his side in many editions of the race.

“I actually have a love-hate relationship with that race. If you are lucky that day then Roubaix is a great race, but if you are unlucky Roubaix can be a very long and terrible race," Sagan said.

"Look at the honours list: there are many different winners. Either they win by luck, or they have 'top legs' that day. 

"A thousand things can happen along the way. You can puncture at the wrong time or fall or be held up by a fall and that can play tricks on you for the rest of the race. 

"You can lose a lot of energy in Paris-Roubaix at stupid moments and then you have to chase. Even if you are not the best in Roubaix, you can still win there. You see that in history too. Anyway, it's certainly a nice course to watch on TV, I understand that."

Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Richard Windsor

Follow on Twitter: @richwindy

Richard is digital editor of Cycling Weekly. Joining the team in 2013, Richard became editor of the website in 2014 and coordinates site content and strategy, leading the news team in coverage of the world's biggest races and working with the tech editor to deliver comprehensive buying guides, reviews, and the latest product news.

An occasional racer, Richard spends most of his time preparing for long-distance touring rides these days, or getting out to the Surrey Hills on the weekend on his Specialized Tarmac SL6 (with an obligatory pub stop of course).