Road World Champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) has said he may yet decide not to defend his rainbow jersey, though it’s not clear if he was joking.
Speaking after he had won the third stage of the Eneco Tour in Belgium in a chaotic bunch sprint, Sagan appeared to tease the assembled journalists by threatening not to turn up to the World Championships in Qatar next month.
When asked if he would try to avoid a bunch sprint in Doha he said: “I don’t know how I go in Qatar”.
That prompted the question of whether he would make the trip at all. “I don’t know I will have to decide,” he said.
When will you decide, he was asked, after this race? “No,” he replied.
One journalist joked, “You don’t want five rainbow jerseys in a row?” Sagan said: “Now I have Europe, so…”
Another adopted a serious tone – the situation was starting to get out of hand – and asked, “Is there a chance you won’t go?” At that point Sagan appeared to stop joking, “Yes there is.”
What will that depend on, he was asked. “A lot of things,” he said. He then left and there was no consensus among those in the room as to whether he was serious about not going or not.
Wednesday’s stage was a tight finish with the break caught within the final kilometer and none of the big sprinters lead-out trains operating to full effect.
Sagan, who picked his way through the chaos to cross the line first, said such finishes were dangerous for the riders.
“There ‘s no space to organize. Everybody wants to be at the front it’s not easy, [it’s] a very big mess and dangerous,” he said.
He denied it was better for him, as he didn’t have such a big lead-out at his disposal as some of his rivals. “Sometimes yes sometimes not, its always very dangerous,” he said.
He added: “A sprint is always like a lottery one time it stays closed, one time it opens up, one time something happen and it’s a big mess.”