Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) appears better and better this spring, leaving Paris-Roubaix content despite lacking energy in the final to follow eventual winner Philippe Gilbert (Deceuninck-Quick-Step).
Sagan won the race in 2018 in his world champions’ jersey and returned in 2019 to finish fifth. The race appeared to go well for him after a spring lacking that Sagan spark that followers come to expect.
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“Well, I was also good in Milan-San Remo. In Australia, I also won one stage,” Sagan told Cycling Weekly, downplaying his ride on Sunday.
“I don’t think it was the best, but for sure it was OK. How I always say, every year was different, you know, every race is different. If you are going to repeat this tomorrow, this race is going to be totally different.”
Gilbert made the race with a massive attack at 65km to race. It brought a reaction from 2018 winner Sagan at 53 kilometres to race and formed a strong group racing towards the Roubaix velodrome.
However, Nils Politt (Katusha-Alpecin) attacked and drew free Gilbert and Sagan began to fade.
“You know, we have only one shot and we have to take our chance. I’m happy with my race,” he said. “I missed a little bit of energy in the final but well, it’s like that.”
Sagan drove over the cobbles to split the bunch that contained race favourites like Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) and Luke Rowe (Sky).
“A big congrats, good for him,” Sagan said of Gilbert’s power ride.
“[My move at 53km] was only a consequence of the parcours and I know in those parts of cobbles stones it’s going to be cross-winds. I said, we can try to move here and we’ll see what happens. And in the end, it what happened, happened.”
Sagan fell sick at a training camp in Sierra Nevada, Spain, and had diarrhoea for six days leading up to Tirreno-Adriatico in mid-March. He continued, however, and improved over time.
Amazingly, he is pushing on until Liège-Bastogne-Liège in two weeks, completing a five-week Classics run. This year, the race finishes on the flats into Liège’s centre.
“Improving? It looks like that,” he added. “Well, in the end, I switched off and we’ll see next week.”
Next week, he will try to win the Amstel Gold Race after already placing third and last year, fourth.