Peter Sagan 'didn't just want to win Milan-San Remo, but to win it in style'

Bora-Hansgrohe managers say Sagan is doing justice to the rainbow jersey

Peter Sagan attacks on the Poggio at Milan-San Remo 2017
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Peter Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe team says that the aim was not just to win Milan-San Remo on Saturday, but to do so with style to honour the rainbow jersey.

Sagan nearly did so with an attack heading up to the Poggio hilltop village in his rainbow jersey, only missing out to Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) in a tight sprint finish.

"It was really exciting to see Sagan's attack," Bora-Hansgrohe General Manager Ralph Denk told Cycling Weekly.

"With the sports directors and management team, we decided together, if we can take a win here, we'd like to win in the rainbow jersey like an artist, not just a normal win.

"If he was able to win [after the Poggio attack], it would've been big, but he was second. We didn't just want a sprint victory, but to have a victory in very good style. That was our goal."

>>> Peter Sagan rues 'lack of cooperation' from Michal Kwiatkowski at Milan-San Remo

Sagan attacked with 6.3 kilometres remaining,  900 metres before the race reached the top of the Poggio and began the descent towards the finish in San Remo.

Julian Alaphilippe (Quick Step) and Kwiatkowski latched on behind the Slovakian, briefly pulling on the front, but putting most of the pressure on the world champion.

Watch: Milan-San Remo 2017 highlights

"We spoke about it a lot with Peter and the team," Team Coach Patxi Vila added.

"He has to honour the jersey he's wearing. It's special. He's leading cycling this year. He's the light we are all following, the jersey deserves satisfaction. For me, once he attacked on the Poggio, that was a win."

Denk and Vila waited for their star to arrive at the German team's bus after the podium ceremonies.

>>> Michal Kwiatkowski's Strava stats show the incredible power it takes to win Milan-San Remo

Further along the Via Roma, Alessandro Petacchi stopped on the line where he won Milan-San Remo in 2005, and where minutes earlier Kwiatkowski had edged ahead of Sagan.

"That's the beautiful thing about cycling. You can lose a one-day race or stage race of seven days by two seconds or so," he said referring to both Sagan and to Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo), who lost Paris-Nice by two seconds after a brave attack from far in the final stage.

"To see someone in the rainbow jersey attacking over the Poggio, and to see him making every race, that's Peter Sagan.

"He's shown up until now that he's the strongest around. The others know, they see him when they are at the limit, but he's able to squeeze out something else. You need to try to bring him truly dead tired to the finish otherwise he'll win."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.