Peter Sagan: Plenty of opportunities for Tinkoff despite Contador exit

Tinkoff will continue to fight on three fronts in the Tour de France, despite Alberto Contador abandoning the race

Rafal Majka and Peter Sagan onon stage nine of the 2016 Tour de France (Watson)
(Image credit: Watson)

Peter Sagan insists there is still all to play for at the Tour de France, with his Tinkoff team still in contention for three of the four jerseys.

Roman Kreuziger sits only 1-16 down on leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) after nine stages and is the team’s best hope of a top-10 finish after the departure of Alberto Contador on Sunday.

Rafal Majka is also in contention for the polka dot jersey, having gotten into three breakaways in nine days, and Sagan himself is the favourite to win the green jersey.

“You cannot predict how the race will go. Alberto was really bad after his crashes and was also sick in the last few days. He decided to go and recover, and prepare for his next races,” he said.

“For us it’s maybe more of a chance for the team. We still have Roman Kreuziger – he still feels good – and there are more opportunities.”

Peter Sagan's Tour de France bike

Sagan admits that team owner Oleg Tinkov is disappointed that Contador had to withdraw from the race, but says the Russian’s generosity makes it easy to get along with him.

Tinkov will withdraw his funding from the team at the end of the season, with the riders and staff in the process of finding new employment.

“I like Oleg because he’s very generous. He’s happy when things are going well. For now he’s a little bit disappointed about Alberto, but we are still a very strong team.,” he said.

“When we won the stage he was happy like I’ve never seen, and that night we had champagne…it was nice.

“If he’s angry he tells you what he has to tell you. He’s the owner of the team so he can tell you what he thinks.”

Sagan trails in Mark Cavendish in the green jersey competition by seven points heading into the second week of racing. Cavendish admits it will be almost impossible to beat the world champion in the classification because of his ability to pick up points in the mountain stages while the Manxman struggles in the gruppetto.

Sagan has won the points classification for each of the last four years since Cavendish’s only triumph in 2011.

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Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.