Such is the clamour for the three-time world champion that race organiser Mike Turtur – who has always looked to attract high-profile names in order to draw the Adelaide crowds – began waxing lyrical over Sagan’s participation in the race almost without prompting during the pre-race press conference on Saturday.
In fact, Sagan had to say very little of note in order for the local media to be drawn in, but come Sunday, at the People’s Choice Classic, it will be his legs that finally do the talking.
The Bora-Hansgrohe team head into the criterium and the Tour Down Under proper with arguably the best line-up they’ve had in Australia. Jay McCarthy is a genuine contender for the GC, while Daniel Oss and Peter Kennaugh bolster what was already an impressive squad.
The form of sprinter Sam Bennett is somewhat of an unknown given a recent head cold but the consensus seems to be that Sagan could run riot in terms of GC and stages at this race if only his motivation matched his undoubted talent. Stage 4, with its lumpy parcours and downhill dash to the line, has Sagan’s name written all over it, for example.
At the press conference in downtown Adelaide, however, Sagan quickly dispelled any pressure on his own shoulders, pointing to Bora’s collective search for results, rather than his own ambitions.
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