Peter Sagan says his sprint on stage four may have suffered after his efforts on the previous day at the Tour de France.
The former three-time world champion was in with another chance at victory on stage four to Nancy, but missed out to the pure sprinters as Elia Viviani (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) took his first Tour victory.
Sagan, who currently leads the points classification, has been the most consistent rider of the Tour so far but has missed out on victory on three occasions.
The Bora-Hansgrohe rider says his performance on stage four may have been hindered by his explosive climbing effort the day before, when he followed the punchy climbers while the sprinters slipped back.
Speaking after stage four, Sagan said: “Yesterday I kept going with the climbers. It was pretty hard and I spent more energy than the sprinters. That’s possibly what I was missing today, but I’m not worried.
“The most important for me is to be in the front again today, to be constant in the sprints and stay safe.”
Sagan finished fourth on the stage behind pure sprinters Viviani, Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates) and Caleb Ewan (Lotto-Soudal), meaning he has finished in the top five of every road stage so far at the Tour de France 2019.
The 29-year-old is chasing a record seventh Tour de France green jersey and signs look promising after the opening four stages, with Sagan leading the classification by 23 points over Viviani.
Sagan added: “The fastest won today. My concern was whether to stay on Elia’s wheel or not, but Deceuninck obviously have the best train.
“It was a pretty fast sprint for the pure sprinters or real sprinters, whatever you want to call them.”
Sagan could be in with another chance at victory on stage five, as the peloton take on a rolling parcours that features two categorised climbs in the final 30km and a fast, flat 10km to the line.