Peter Sagan said he “went all out for this win” as he missed out on a Giro d’Italia stage win by millimetres.
Sagan and his Bora-Hansgrohe team set the pace throughout the day to distance his rival sprinters on stage two, as the peloton tackled the 12km-long Portella Mandrazzi climb mid-way through the course.
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The stage came down to a three-way photo finish between between Sagan, Davide Ballerini (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Arnaud Démare (Groupama-FDJ), with the latter eventually being crowned the stage winner.
Sagan said: “Today, I went all out for the win. It was such a close finish, I didn’t know who was first, second, or third, we all came to the line together and we had to wait for the photo finish. I did my best and sprints often go this way. At times I won by a few centimetres, and at times it was like today. Our plan today was to go very hard on the climb in order to see what happens.”
Sagan took finished second in the sprint, which he adds to his second-place finish in Agrigento on stage two.
Thanks to those consistent performances, Sagan now moves into the lead in the points classification on 57 points, five points ahead of Démare.
He said: “I’m very satisfied with the team’s work, they did a great job and in the small group in the finale we were with Viviani, Démare, and a few others. I get to wear the ciclamino jersey, but I lead by a few points and I’ll try to keep it.”
Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Jan Valach said: “In the end, we lost by a hair’s breadth but there was nothing more we could do. Peter gets now the ciclamino jersey, he’s in good form and in fact on the climb he was asking to go faster, in the sprints he’s getting closer, so we look forward to a victory.”