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“I was just working for Oscar and my aim was to lead him out in the best way. I forced the pace at 10 km to select the group and have less contenders for him in the finale. In the sprint I pushed hard and then moved to the right to le...

Photo: Sirotti

CLASSIC BRUGGE-DE PANNE

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NEWS

OSCAR GATTO

RIDER PROFILE
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PETER SAGAN

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NEWS
01.04.2014 @ 19:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

For the third year in a row, Peter Sagan won the opening stage of the Driedaagse van de Panne but as it had been the case two years ago, it wasn't part of the pre-race plan. In fact, the team had been working for Oscar Gatto all day and everything was going according to plan until the very last moment of the race.

 

Cannondale Pro Cycling has collected another victory on the cobbles. Today, the team placed first and second at the first stage of Driedaagse De Panne (De Panne-Zottegem , 201 km). Peter Sagan claimed his fifth win of the season while Oscar Gatto came in just after the Slovak Champion.

 

Sagan’s victory was determined by a photo finish. It was a collaborative team goal to carry Gatto to win.

 

“I was just working for Oscar and my aim was to lead him out in the best way,” said Sagan. “I forced the pace at 10 km to select the group and have less contenders for him in the finale. In the sprint I pushed hard and then moved to the right to let him pass. I really thought he was coming back”

 

“I’m happy that the team took another victory, but at the same time I’m sorry for Oscar. My teammates did great work to help me and many times people don’t see this on TV. Today I had the chance to pay back their efforts and I wanted to race as domestique – this is the only pity in another great day for Cannondale Pro Cycling,” added Sagan.

 

"In the last few years I've won the first stage and this year we said we wanted to do well for Oscar, so at the finish I was pulling the sprint for him. I was thinking he would pass me on the line and we would do first-second. We did, but it was a little bit different.

 

"I like it because it's a different kind of racing, riding on small roads and on the cobblestones with the wind. It's a different race to Tirreno or San Remo. It's a different story here."

 

In the past two years, Sagan has deliberately given away the lead on stage 2 before abandoning on the third day. He refused to reveal his plans for the rest of the race.

 

"I don't know, I will see tomorrow how I feel," he said. "I think the more important race is Flanders and I don't want to risk some crash or something. I just want to keep my condition with good training."

 

The true feeling among the riders today is also highlighted by Oscar Gatto,

 

“Peter apologized to me many times, but he didn’t need to. All together we did a bold performance and we deserved to win. We are a strong team and tight-knit group and I’m happy to continue to work for Peter in future.

 

"You know how it is at the end of a race like that, it's not like all of your plans come off to perfection," Gatto told Cyclingnews. "But that's alright. The important thing is that the team is going well. I was up there with Peter today, and that's where I need to be on Sunday in Flanders, too."

 

Tomorrow at the second day of Driedaagse De Panne, Zottegem-Koksijde, Sagan will be at the start with the GC leader jersey.

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