UCI World Road Race champion Peter Sagan has confirmed on the eve of the Tour de France that he feels ready for the race and that his preparations have gone well. Sagan was speaking at a team press conference where it was announced that title sponsor hansgrohe had extended their contract with the team until 2020.
The Slovakian champion starts the race with the possibility of equalling Erik Zabel’s record six wins in the points classification, having won it from 2012-2016. Sagan missed the opportunity to win the green jersey last year as he was disqualified following stage four after race officials judged that he caused Mark Cavendish to crash, with the jury president Philippe Marien saying that he “endangered some of his colleagues seriously”.
“Our goals for the Tour are always the same, there is no surprise but the Tour is a complicated race,” said Sagan. “Everybody is extremely motivated; all eyes are on this race in July. We need a little bit of luck to achieve our goals; without luck, everything can be lost in one moment. But we have a very strong team going into this Tour de France, and there will be some opportunities for us for sure. My preparations went well, and I feel I am ready.”
One stage that will be of particular interest to Sagan is the ninth stage from Arras to Roubaix. The 154-kilometre stage includes 21.7 kilometres of pave and 2018 Paris-Roubaix winner Sagan can be expected to be to the fore.
“The stage to Roubaix will be special, for me as well, now that I have these good memories about this place and the sectors,” he said. “However, the race will be different then April, with all the GC guys fighting at the front as well.”
Regarding the news that hansgrohe had extended their sponsorship, Sagan said: “I am very happy that after BORA also hansgrohe has extended its sponsorship early. We all share the same vision and therefore we’ll keep on working side by side to reach our goals. I have great respect for what Ralph Denk established over the last years. And I want to thank hansgorhe and BORA for their trust in us.”