Peter Sagan Shows off at Tour of California


After going for the win in a break for much of the stage, Peter Sagan never gave up and nearly won the bunch kick for the stage victory

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Peter Sagan Shows off at Tour of California


Photo – (c) Tim De Waele

Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California was very nearly crowned as the Sagan show as Peter dominated the stage before then just missing out on the win by a matter of centimetres in a photo finish sprint.

Obviously feeling good today, Peter spent much of the stage up the road before waiting for the bunch, and then had the energy to contest the sprint from the front at the finish.

“That’s Peter – he’s able to do everything,” said Sport Director, Patxi Vila from the finish in Santa Rosa. “Everyday there’s an opportunity, and he has a great repertoire of winning possibilities – in a bunch, solo, even over climbs. It was an incredible ride. Michael Gogl did a strong ride to get in the break and still be there at the finish too, as well as the other guys who helped these two early in the stage – it was a nice team effort.”

It was Michael who kicked off an active day for Tinkoff as he got clear in a strong group of five on the first climb of the day, pulling out 25” advantage over the peloton. However, the bunch wasn’t going to let that go easily and nine riders bridged across, including Peter, making a group of 14 at the front.

Riding solo over a minute ahead of the peloton, Sagan spend much of the day racing at the front. Photo by Getty Images

Despite a hard chase from behind, the leaders pulled out over a two-minute advantage by the second climb of the race, but it was here that the attacks came from behind leaving the break’s advantage shattered. There was a coming together of sorts, but Peter didn’t ease off, pressing on taking first over the third climb over the day before forcing a break of six to go clear. With ninth place on GC in the move, the bunch weren’t keen to let the group get far ahead, and knowing this was the case, Peter decided to jump clear with just over 60km to race, going it alone.

He soon set about building his advantage, the move echoing those he made occasionally in the spring classics – just quite a bit further out. He managed to pull out over a minute’s advantage over the chasers who were swallowed up by the peloton, but with sprinters still present the reduced bunch was keen to chase Peter all the way.

Having gone under the 25km to go banner, Peter decided to sit up and wait for the chasers behind, saving his energy for the sprint at the end. Vila explained the situation further: “The plan was actually to get Michael Gogl or Juraj Sagan in the break today, which we achieved with Michael and then Peter bridged across. When he got away in the group of six the guy from Lotto was a GC threat so Peter went solo to see what happened behind. We gambled to see if the sprinters would get dropped and there wouldn’t be much of a chase but when Katusha started to pull we decided to wait for the sprint. Then at the end it was so close in the sprint to the big prize.”

After being caught by the chasing bunch, Peter set about sitting in the wheels alongside teammate Michael Gogl who helped to keep him in position for the impending sprint. They got a few opportunities to see the finish, with several finishing circuits to cover, but it wasn’t too technical with a large open straight road to the line after a final right hand bend.

Coming out of the last corner, Peter was right in the wheel of Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) who’s team had done all the work in setting up the sprint at the end, and as Kristoff opened up his effort Peter started coming around but ran out of ground before the line came, leaving him in second by the smallest of margins. The placing, together with the points won at the intermediate sprint earlier in the day, give Peter a large lead in the points classification ahead of tomorrow’s final stage.

“It was really hard out there today, one of the hardest races I’ve done in my career,” said Michael Gogl after the stage. “It was the whole day full gas so I was pleased I could stay in the front group after having been in the first break. When we caught Peter I tried to support him as much as I could for the sprint.

“I feel like my shape is getting better day by day – it’s my first race since Roubaix – but the hard stages and transfers are tiring. Although I really like the racing here.”

Tomorrow’s final stage is a 138km downtown circuit race around Sacramento, likely to end in a bunch sprint – one final opportunity for Peter and the team to go for a third stage win of the week.2016_ShuttVeloRapideAdvert





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