With the start of his 2018 season at the Tour Down Under now less than two weeks away, Peter Sagan has been reflecting on what must surely have been his most challenging off-season to date, as he got to grips with fatherhood.
Sagan became a father for the first time in October as wife Katarina gave birth to their son Marlon in October, with the triple world champion proving that he’s not perfect at everything as he opened up about the challenges of the last few months.
“I’m a normal dad, who gets worried when he cries and I don’t know what he needs,” the 27-year-old told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I also enjoy playing and smiling with him.
“My life has changed, things are more emotional now but everything else is pretty much the same. The truth is that Kate mostly looks after Marlon but I’m sure that’ll change as he gets older. I’ve lost a bit of sleep but it’s been worth it for sure.”
Aside from the arrival of his son, Sagan says that little has changed in his preparation for the 2018 season, balancing his training with commitments to sponsors and journalists, while also attending Bora-Hansgrohe‘s first pre-season meet up in Mallorca in December,
As was the case in 2017, Sagan will start his season at the Tour Down Under in Australia, before heading for an altitude camp in Sierra Nevada ahead of the opening weekend of the Belgian season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the latter of which he won last year.
Watch: Unforgettable moments of the 2017 season
However this is all preparation for bigger races later in the year, and despite having more than 100 professional wins to his name, there are still major races which Sagan is yet to win.
“Roubaix and San Remo,” the Slovak said when asked which races he still wants to add to his palmarès, “but if I won Flanders again then it wouldn’t be a problem [not winning Paris-Roubaix or Milan-San Remo].”
After the cobbled Classics, Sagan says that the Bora-Hansgrohe management would like to send him to Amstel Gold Race, before a period with less racing ahead of the Tour de France.
The final goal of Sagan’s season could be the World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, but the mountainous course with more than 5,000m of climbing means that Sagan is sceptical about his chances about winning the rainbow jersey for the fourth year in succession.
“The World Championships for me are a long way off. Not just in time, but also in the possibility of winning because of the course,” the three-time world champion continued.
“I want to enjoy the jersey, to wear these ‘stripes, to have fun and win as much as possible. But I’m a bit sceptical about the next World Championships.
“Anything can happen, I will do my best, but I do not feel I have the characteristics to be able to repeat the result of the last few years. It’s for people like Nibali and Valverde more than for me.”