Calm before the storm? Peter Sagan says expections high, but pressure low

Strongman Sagan says he feels no pressure despite his most-favored status and sees two chances to win — from a break and in a sprint

Photo: Graham Watson

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MILAN (VN) — Despite being a heavy favorite to win the first classic of the season, Peter Sagan says he feels no pressure, has the full support of his Cannondale team, and isn’t particularly concerned about how his rivals might choose to play their cards during what could be a particularly challenging Milano-Sanremo.

“After a good start of the season, my expectations are high,” said Sagan. “I want to race a good race, at the front. We have a good team to aim at a good result.

“The forecast could make it an even tougher race, but that will be the case for everyone. The biggest risk is that there will be over 200 riders and it’s tough to move in such a big group.”

If all goes well, Sagan said, he has two shots at victory in the 298km race — either by following an attack on the Poggio, or by winning in a sprint from a group.

“It’s my third attempt here and I have learned that the Cipressa and Poggio are key to understand if you can win or not,” he said. “I’ll see for myself and not think too much about what the others can do, and I’ll count on my teammates. They can help make the difference.”

Key lieutenants for Sagan include Moreno Moser and Elia Viviani. The former will be making his debut at “La Primavera,” and says his sole purpose is to get Sagan across the finish line first.

“I’ve never raced this many kilometers,” said Moser. “That’s an important variable and I’m not sure what to expect. What’s best is if I’m able to stay in the front and hold on until after the Poggio and help Peter. He’ll count on a team tactic and my biggest satisfaction on Sunday would be to see Peter win.”

As for Viviani, he says he brings fewer results to the race than in past years, but has raced enough to arrive in “decent form.”

“Peter and Moreno have given a calmness to the team, and for me what counts is to be in the front and be useful in the finale,” he said.

Sagan said he was aware that he would be a marked man at Milano-Sanremo, but added that he didn’t want to focus on tactics.

“It’s said that they will race against me, but I don’t think that there are riders ready to lose instead of trying to win,” he said.

“I know that tactics count a lot in a race like Sanremo, but I don’t want to think too much about them. There are too many variables. You think of one type of race but the reality turns out to be the opposite.

“For this, we’ll look to have a good showing. I don’t feel pressured to be the number one favorite. I feel good, I have a competitive team … I can’t ask for more to face this race calmly.”


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