Peter Sagan (Slovakia) says that it is unlikely he will put on the rainbow jersey on Sunday in Valkenburg, Netherlands. After a long season, that included winning the green jersey at the Tour de France, he believes that he is not among the World Championship favourites.
Sagan won three stages on his way to winning the green jersey in the Tour. Leading into it, the 22-year-old of team Liquigas-Cannondale was red-hot. In both the Tour of California and the Tour of Switzerland he won the majority of stages and took home the points jerseys.
He points to others to win the World title, especially those who raced the Vuelta a España: Philippe Gilbert of Belgium and Spain’s Alberto Contador, Joaquin Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde.
“I don’t feel to be in my best condition. My best was in the Tour de France,” Sagan told Cycling Weekly yesterday afternoon after helping Liquigas to fourth place in the time trial. “Now… Let’s just see, but I can say that I’m not one of the favourites. There are others, like Gilbert, who went strong in the Vuelta. Valverde and Rodriguez. Maybe Contador.”
After the Tour, the he raced several one-day races and in the Olympic Games. However, it was mostly a downtime for him as he was spending more time at home.
Liquigas trainer, Paolo Slongo told Cycling Weekly he put on one to one and a half kilograms after the Tour. Sagan grinned, but still appeared ready to win. “I’m not that much over what I was in the Tour de France, but for sure I put some weight on,” he said. “It’s okay because the season’s been long. After the Tour, I relaxed a little.”
Liquigas put most Sagan’s focus on the Tour this year. Next year, it will give more emphases to the classics, from Milan-San Remo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“Those will be the goal next year along with the Tour,” Slongo said. “For sure, he’s not going to come in over weight for those races!”
Sagan placed second and nearly won the Amstel Gold Race this year, which used the same finishing Cauberg climb as the Worlds. The difference is that after the climb, the Worlds courses continue for another 1.5km before reaching the finish line. Sagan said that if he is with the favourites, then “this type of flat finish is better” for him.
Due to his limited six-man team, he will be watching the riders he considers the favourites and waiting for the last circuit in the 265-kilometre course. Along with his brother Juraj, Slovak fields the Velits twins, Peter and Martin, Maros Kovac and Matej Jurco.
“I hope that Peter Velits and I are going well, and then we can decide during the race who should have his chance,” Sagan added. “For sure, we are not a team that attack. It’s better to ride in defence.”