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AFP / Yuzuru Sunada
Peter Sagan said he would overcome the disappointment of a 16th place finish at the Tour of Flanders and come back better ahead of Paris-Roubaix. The Slovak twice winner of the Tour de France green jersey was one of the top three favorites coming into the De Ronde Sunday. But after he failed to match eventual winner Fabian Cancellara’s attack on the tough Oude Kwaremont climb 17km from the end, Sagan ended up battling in one of the chase groups and being out sprinted to the line by Gent-Wevelgem winner John Degenkolb for 15th place.
“It’s never easy to comment on a disappointing result and there aren’t many words to say right now,” admitted Sagan. “I did not perform as I wanted in a key moment of the race. When Cancellara and (Sep) Vanmarcke attacked on the Oude Kwaremont, I wasn’t able to push hard enough to follow them. I’ve lost the right moment, simply no other reasons. Besides this, there was no cooperation in the group to close the gap. I think many riders felt like me; it was a tough race as always.”
Having finished fifth in Flanders two years ago and second behind Cancellara last year, many believed this would be the year the 24-year-old Sagan would finally deliver on his promise and win a Spring Classic. But he will try again on Sunday at Paris-Roubaix and Sagan seemed unperturbed by his disappointment.
“There will be time to analyse the race later, but no drama now,” he added. “This is not a good result, of course, but there’s always something to learn. I’ll put this experience in my pocket. Maybe it was just an off day – If I had ridden yesterday (Saturday), for sure I was able to win!”
Sagan’s Cannondale team director Mario Scirea said his rider had suffered a blow to his morale when he failed to match Cancellara’s acceleration.
“We have to accept the result and admit this is not what we expected,” said Scirea. “We always look and analyze the performance, even after a win. This time we have a reason more to go in deep, but this was not the end of the world. Until the last ride on the Oude Kwaremont we were in the game and the situation was pretty good. When Cancellara and Vanmarcke took advantage and Peter wasn’t able to follow, I think the morale aspect played a key role.”