Peter Sagan: I've still got room for improvement after opening weekend of cobbled Classics

Two-time world champion pleased with his performances at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, but believes his form will still improve

Peter Sagan after winning the 2017 edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images)

Peter Sagan believes he still has room to improve and get better, despite a strong showing on the opening weekend of cobbled Classics that saw him take his first win of 2017 at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the day after finishing second at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

The world champion lay down a gauntlet in Belgium to his rivals of his form going into the Classics campaign, as he looks to add more Monuments to his victory in the Tour of Flanders last year.

Despite spending the majority of the crucial periods of both races without any of his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates, it was the 27-year-old who instigated key attacks that reduced the riders down to decide both race wins.

>>> 'They're the three strongest guys, it's never going to be easy to catch them'

At Omloop he pushed hard after the Taaienberg climb taking Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing) and Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) with him, while in Kuurne it was Sagan’s counter attack with 25km to go that formed the five-rider group that sprinted for the victory.

When asked if he can still improve his performance, with races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to come, he replied: “I hope so”.

“If I feel better and I can win, it will be better. I hope with this race and now the period of hard races [coming] I can improve my condition.”

Watch: Cobbled Classics essential guide

The Slovak had been in typically quirky form all weekend, going into an interview Sporza television post-Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and lowering the chair so he could only just see over the desk, while after Kuurne he admitted he hadn’t realised Omloop was now a WorldTour level race until after it was over.

“I didn’t know that, I thought that I am racing in a normal race,” Sagan said. “Yesterday I didn’t know it was WorldTour because last year it was not.

“I was racing because I wanted to race here. After one month on a training camp and everything I wanted to race here and be ready for Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and the rest of the Classics.”

He admitted he had learnt from his performances at these two races last season – where he also finished second to Van Avermaet in Omloop and seventh in Kuurne – which helped him secure the win ahead of Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven and Luke Rowe on Sunday.

>>> Tony Martin has eight stitches in his face after Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne crash

“Last year I did different kinds of races,” he continued. “Yesterday was the same [as 2016] and in [Kuurne last year] I was racing like crazy and I just switched off before the finish. This year I was just like 'I want to finish this race'. Maybe that is the difference – I stayed more calm, relaxed and you see everything has come along.”

Yet Sagan refused to take much away from the races about the form of his main rivals, with six weeks to go until Paris-Roubaix and plenty of races still to contest in between.

“For sure they are good, you cannot tell now how they will be in one month. A lot of things can happen, we have a lot of races,” he said.

“It’s not 100 per cent that everybody keeps the same condition, it’s not 100 per cent because we are doing another race somebody can get injured. It’s not about that we have to continue to race and every race is different and one day you can feel good and one day bad.”

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