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  "It's a special race, similar to a Belgian classic"

Photo: Cannondale Pro Cycling






01.03.2013 @ 11:03 Posted by Jesper Johannesen


Yesterday, Peter Sagan (Cannondale) burst back onto the scene after a recent bout of bronchitis with an impressive victory in GP Citta di Camaiore. However, the race was only a test for the Slovakian who was his near-term eyes firmly focused on Saturday's Strade Bianche.


Peter Sagan was very cautious when he was asked to assess his possibilities in the GP Citta di Camaiore in the days leadling up to the event. Bronchitis forced him out of the Tour of Oman after two stage victories and a stint in the leader's jersey, and we was uncertain of his recovery in the lead-up to his comeback race.


His performance in the race must have put all doubts to rest. He was at ease on the last time up Monte Pitoro when Franco Pellizotti and Emanuele Sella forced the pace for their Androni Giocattoli team leader Francesco Reda. He remained calm when Reda and Mauro Santambrogio (Vini Fantini - Selle Italia) put in an attack near the top, and he easily followed Michele Scarponi (Lampre - Merida) when he accelerated near the top of the climb. On the descent, he went on the attack with Denis Menchov (Katusha), and when he was reeled in, he used his strong teammate Moreno Moser to control the many attacks from riders like Menchov, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) on the run-in to the finish line. Finally, he showed his incredible burst of speed when he powered clear to take a convincing victory.


With teammate Stefano Agostini in the early break, it was left to teams like Astana, Lampre-Merida, Colombia and Androni Giocattoli to make the pace during the main part of the race, and Sagan was quick to praise his teammates for their role in his success.


“This win has been built step by step, and thanks to the great support of my teammates I felt my condition improving during the race,” Sagan said. “Agostini was good to go in the break, so the team didn’t have to work to death. When we caught the break, in the final kilometres of the race, Moser did an exceptional work preventing all the attacks and leading the small bunch to the sprint. At that moment, I had to play my role, do my best and win.”


Focus on Strade Bianche

With GP Camaiore as an important test of his condition, Sagan has his short-term eyes firmly fixed on tomorrow's Strade Bianche. Last year, a strong showing in Tour of Oman had turned him into one of the pre-race favorites, but an untimely puncture prevented any success. With his superior bike-handling skills and his strength on short, sharp climbs, the race - which takes in the gravel roads near Siena - he seems tailor-made for the race. This year he looks for revenge from last year's disappointment.


“GP of Camaiore was the right way to find race rhythm and improve my condition," he explained. "I really like the Strade Bianche and would like to achieve a good result. It’s a special race, similar to a Belgian classic, and for this reason you also need to be lucky to stand out. I don’t want to create too many expectations or a lot of pressure. We’ll see during the race how I feel and how competitive I can be.”


After Strade Bianche, Sagan will use Tirreno-Adriatico as his final build-up for his major objectives of the season: the classics. He looks to obtain his first victory in one of the coveted one-day races and will focus on Milan-Sanremo, Gent-Wevelgem, Tour of Flanders and Amstel Gold Race in which he was 4th, 2nd, 5th and 3rd last year.



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