The wait goes on for Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo). The now four-time green jersey winner will continue to hunt for a first stage win at the Tour de France since 2013, but despite that, said he was content with his performance after the conclusion of the Tour in Paris on Sunday night.
The Slovakian champion continued his remarkable consistency in the race, finishing second no less than five times. And that, coupled with some extraordinary breakaway performances, saw him dominate the green jersey points competition for another year, in spite of the organisers changing the rules to make it a closer competition.
But Sagan has also found himself in an unusual role at this Tour. Still only 25, he has become used to leading a team built around him in the hunt for stage wins, but this year was part of a team geared towards securing Alberto Contador an historic Giro d’Italia/Tour double.
It’s something that looked like it would hamper his chances for wins, despite being so good at going it alone. However, Sagan says he has benefitted from the experience of riding alongside Contador, helping his team leader, including giving him his bike after a crash on the stage to Pra Loup.
“I am very happy because this year was a very hard fight from the first stages,” Sagan said after the final podium ceremonies.
“My role in the team was different from previous years. I’m very happy that I haven’t crashed and that I can make it here in the green jersey – it’s a special feeling for me.
“It has been a different Tour for me but also a very big experience to ride with Alberto Contador, he is a big champion and I’ve also had a lot of fun in this year’s Tour on the road and together with my teammates.”
You wouldn’t realise the weight of expectation on Sagan’s shoulders when you see the way he carries himself. Generally light-hearted an joking around, even after his lone chase for Ruben Plaza on stage 16, which saw him take another second place, he was still seemingly positive as he explained his mysterious chest-thumping as he crossed the finish line.
But the pressure for results is seemingly as from inside the team than out. Sagan commands a hefty wage, and after a disappointing Classics season earlier this year, team owner Oleg Tinkov had already discussed cutting his wages.
Sagan’s first season with the super-team will be a steep learning curve, but he remained optimistic about what he could take from another Tour of green dominance, if not a stage win.
“For sure it was a very big fight from the start and I knew that it wasn’t easy,” he said on fighting it out in bunch sprints. “There was less pressure on me to create individual results but I also had a different role.
“But the pressure overall has been high, we have been very concentrated but it has been a big experience for me.
“I’ve tried to win stages, but it was not easy. I think I can be satisfied, I have been very aggressive and I have the green jersey”
Best of the 2015 Tour de France