Peter Sagan puts difficult spring behind him with Tour de France stage victory

The three-time world champion rode through the spring empty handed, but already has a victory at the Tour

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) won the Tour de France's fifth stage on Wednesday in Colmar, which is helping him forget about what had been a difficult spring

The three-time world champion fell sick early in the spring. It partly affected him as he raced from Milan-San Remo through to La Flèche Wallonne – going home empty handed.

>>>  Five talking points from stage five of the Tour de France 2019

"We can't compare [this to the spring campaign]. First because at the start of the season, I was sick. I think it made a lot of damage in my body, I lost a lot of weight in a few days. I think my body suffered from that. Every year is different first of all – one is good, one is bad," Sagan said.

"After all the hard races it could be that my body doesn't recover like normal because it was still hard to recover after the sickness and the hard race period.

"In Tirreno-Adriatico, I suffered a lot and after I wasn't great. It's pretty hard. After I did a period of rest and recovery, plus the preparation from before… Now I am here."

Here at the Tour de France, Sagan is riding his way to a seventh green jersey title. He finished second, fifth and fourth in the chances beforehand, and on stage five topped the day ahead of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-Scott).

He now leads the points competition with a healthy 144 points over Michael Matthews (Sunweb) with 97. Elia Viviani (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) counts 92 in third place.

"Better not to think about my green jersey rivals," Sagan continued. "Day by day, I don't know. I try to do my best and then try to manage to make some gap between Viviani and me, and Matthews/Van Aert.

"We only did four stages – one a team time trial – and we still have a lot of work to do. Just like every year. Some day could be bad luck, some day you can take more points and they less."

If Sagan won a seventh green jersey this year in Paris, he would beat the record held by German Erik Zabel. Ahead though, there are many mountain stages that Sagan must conquer.

"I don't care about mountains. 2,000, 3,000 metres. I care more about who came in the time limit. That's my problem," he added.

"There's a lot of short stages, lots of climbs. It will be interesting. But this is my sixth or seventh Tour de France that I did, I never had problems. Once or twice, I was on the limit but it's OK."

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