Sagan’s last victory in the rainbow jersey was at the Tour de France. He won three times in total, but only in the Roche-sur-Yon stage two was he not wearing the green points jersey.
Sagan aims to raise his arms one more time in the jersey, and is exhibiting improving form in the Vuelta. Only two more chances remain: stage 18’s finish in Lleida and the final day to Madrid.
“It will really be difficult because it’s really the mountains race with metres of climbing, but Peter is motivated and is trying, so why not?” sports director Enrico Poitschke told Cycling Weekly.
“We missed the [early] stage wins already and we keep fighting for the victories. I think that he feels much better than in the beginning of the Vuelta but we know that Elia Viviani is also hard to beat.
“He wants to try to win one more time in the rainbow. “
Sagan is using the mountainous Vuelta to prepare for the UCI World Championship road race in Innsbruck. He won the last three titles, but said that the Austrian climbing course was too ill suited to his strengths for a fourth title.
Still, he wants to be ready. His initial plan was to race in Spain until the second weekend, then return home for specific training. Instead, he will continue on in the race, partly as training and partly aiming for a stage win.
“In the beginning, we had a mind that he would stop the race and go home for worlds training,” Poitschke added. “Now, he stays here because he feels good and he likes the stages, the sun and we are using the Vuelta as preparation here for the worlds.”
“I’m trying to [finish] yes but there are still some really hard stages and I just hope I stay in the Vuelta,” Sagan said ahead of a climbing stage 17 in the Basque country.
“Another win in the rainbow jersey? I think it was already the last time. I am trying from the start at the Vuelta but sometimes it’s more difficult than we think,” he said, less confident in his ability to meet the goal.
Sagan has also been helping team-mates Emanuel Buchmann, currently 11th overall, and Rafal Majka aiming for stage wins.
“I’m very happy to be here and proud of our team Bora-Hansgrohe, because they’re doing a good job, but we are just missing some victories with Rafal Majka – we are still continuing and we still have a few stages left to try to do so.”
“It’s important for the team that we have a good tactic,” Poitschke continued. “We also have Emanuel Buchmann here and he wants to finish in the top 10 so we are concentrated in this last week.
“Every time that Peter can help the team, he likes to do it so and he enjoys to work for the other guys.”