Peter Sagan: The Tour de France sprints are always a big mess
06 July 2019 02:17
Peter Sagan is often considered the only rock star in the professional peloton, but as the hours counted down to Saturday's first stage of the Tour de France, where he could take the first yellow jersey and begin to score points towards a record-breaking seventh green points jersey, the Bora-Hansgrohe team leader was evasive about his chances of winning, and seemed slightly irritated about a lack of support in his eight-rider squad for this year's race. When asked about the chance of crashes at the Tour, Sagan and his entourage revealed their strong sense of superstition, closing down the question quickly in the hope it wouldn't carry any bad karma in the days to come. During the Bora-Hansgrohe press conference late on Friday afternoon, Sagan was one of four team leaders, rather than the only leader. Bora-Hansgrohe is no longer only the Peter Sagan show, even if he generates more attention and headlines than all of his teammates combined.ADVERTISEMENT Team manager Ralph Denk highlighted that Bora-Hansgrohe have already won 33 races so far this season – as many as in the whole of 2018. So far, Sagan has only won three times: stages at the Tour Down Under, the Tour of California and the more recent Tour de Suisse. He was fourth at Milan-San Remo and fifth at Paris-Roubaix, but struggled to extend his spring campaign into the Ardennes Classics. Bora-Hansgrohe have developed and improved in recent years as Sagan lifted the profile and prestige of the German team. But now they are targeting a place in the top 10 overall at the Tour, through Patrick Konrad and Emanuel Buchmann, while new German national champion Maximilian Schachmann – who filled in for Sagan in the Ardennes and was third at Liège-Bastogne-Liège – will have the freedom to target stage victories. Buchmann finished third overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, while Konrad was third at the Tour de Suisse. Their GC ambitions seem legitimate. Sagan will only have Daniel Oss to help him in the sprints and in the fight for the green jersey. His close friend Maciej Bodnar was not selected for the Tour de France, with other places going to Germans Marcus Burghardt, Gregor Muhlberger and Austria's Lukas Postleberger.
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