Category: Peter Sagan

Zen master Sagan poised for big 2018

ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — Peter Sagan is cycling’s ultimate zen master.

The preternatural two-wheeled virtuoso lives in the here and now. Blessed by the cycling gods, Sagan doesn’t worry about the weight of history, even when he’s making it. Those concerns are for mere mortals.

“I do not know what is going to happen in life,” Sagan said. “Why do I have to think about that? I am here now.”

After a winter of hibernation, the Sagan Show was back under the spotlight at the WorldTour season opener in Australia. A stage win and the points jersey at the Santos Tour Down Under to open the 2018 calendar suggests he’s poised for a big season.

While journalists grit their teeth trying to paint him into a box, Sagan is simply enjoying the ride. (And helping out when he can).

Saganism comes to us in snippets. He’s the ideal star for the Twitter age. A gesture, a turn of phrase, or a video clip can instantly go viral. He has the uncanny ability to turn the banal into something entertaining (remember his chair slide during last year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad?). Fans love him and so do most of his colleagues in the peloton.

If anything sums up Sagan’s bon vivant character and live-and-let-live attitude, it’s a new tattoo emblazoned across his right hip. The dark ink features a Sagan-like Joker character from “Batman,” with the slogan, “Not so serious.”

“Why so serious?” when asked about the fresh ink. “Everyone is always so serious, especially the journalists. You can also take life not so serious. You can have fun. When you lose the fun, then everything goes down.”

Sagan clearly enjoys life as three-time world champion, and he is poised to have a lot more fun in 2019.

Turning 28 this week, he comes into the 2018 racing season fitter and more at ease with his rising profile. Becoming a new father adds another layer to Sagan’s world, and he rolled out of the Santos Tour Down Under with expectations flying high.

After a short break at home, he’ll ramp up his European calendar with Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Milano-Sanremo. He doesn’t like to look much further down the road. When asked if he’s coming back to the Tour Down Under next year, he replied, “I do not know what I am doing tomorrow. So how can I know about something from a year from now?”

Those close to him are working hard to let Peter be Peter, but at the same time, they’re trying to elevate his game just that much more.

“He is an artist. He is a special rider who can do things no one else can,” said Bora-Hansgrohe sport director Patxi Vila. “We have to take care of him, because it would be impossible to replace him. Sometimes cycling is becoming too serious. There are too many numbers. Sometimes I think we are losing the real DNA of the sport. Cycling is fun, and it has to be fun. That’s what Peter brings to cycling right now.”

Maintaining that balance between fun and amusement, and the hard work and preparation that professional cycling requires is a balancing act for the Bora-Hansgrohe staff. Sagan has quietly built a strong support system for himself both on and off the bike, with such key riders as new arrival Daniel Oss, his brother Juraj, and Maciej Bodnar, as well as Vila, agent Giovanni Lombardi, and press officer Gabriele Uboldi behind the scenes.

Everyone is working to help Sagan win a lot of races without losing the inimitable spirit and energy that he brings to cycling.

“Peter is unique in today’s cycling. He races on instinct and passion,” Oss said. “Of course, he is professional and he does the work. But he is a rider who can improvise and create magic in any race he starts. No one can do that today in the peloton like he does.”

All the pieces are stacking up for what could be another exceptional season. After reeling off green jerseys and hogging the rainbow jersey, the team’s first major focus are the spring classics — not the yellow jersey in Paris. Everyone within the organization senses that Sagan could emerge this season as the dominant force in the monuments. With one victory at the Tour of Flanders and a lot more close calls, more big wins seem all but inevitable.

Sagan is the superstar that cycling so desperately needs. He rides his bike because he enjoys it. He races because he’s naturally good at it. And he wins because something clicks deep inside him when he sees the finish line.

“Everything changes in the race,” Sagan said. “You can be normal in everyday life. When you are 5km from the finish, when you are there, you have to try. It is also some kind of job. After all of the energy, all of the work, the finish line is there. You come so close. You want to be the best.”

How does he do it? Sagan doesn’t get bogged down in the details (“That’s why Patxi is here,” when asked about his power numbers) and he doesn’t dwell on the pressure to win more monuments.

“I don’t think about that,” he countered. “If you think about what you want to expect, you can also have some disappointment.”

Sagan simply wants to enjoy the moment. That is an elusive freedom that comes with the unfettered mind.

For Sagan, it’s simply destiny.

“When I was nine years old, I started to ride bikes, and I figured out I have some talent for it,” he said. “Now I just continue.”

That’s pure Sagan. Zen master of the peloton.

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Tour Down Under: Sagan takes stage four and overall lead

Three-time World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) captured his first career stage win at the Santos Tour Down Under on Friday in Uraidla. The Slovakian was able to pump his legs the quickest in the downhill sprint that was fast enough that none of the riders stood out of the saddle. He also took over the lead in the general classification.

The cat. 1 Norton Summit Road climb came late in the stage and thinned out the peloton to around 40 riders. The select group attacked each other the descent to the finish, but none of the attacks were able to stick. Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott) started the downhill sprint to the line, but was unable to hold off Sagan and finished second on the stage. He’s second in the general classification as well.

Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana), a former winner of the Tour Down Under, finished third on the stage. He sits fourth in the general classification, 10-seconds behind Sagan. Sagan’s teammate Jay McCarthy is third overall at nine seconds.

Top 10, stage 4

  • 1. Peter Sagan, BORA – HANSGROHE, in 03:21:07
  • 2. Daryl Impey, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:00
  • 3. Luis Leon Sanchez, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:00
  • 4. Diego Ulissi, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:00
  • 5. Jay McCarthy, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:00
  • 6. Dries Devenyns, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:00
  • 7. Domenico Pozzovivo, BAHRAIN MERIDA PRO CYCLING TEAM, at 0:00
  • 8. Rui Costa, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:00
  • 9. Pierre LaTour, AG2R LA MONDIALE, at 0:00
  • 10. Laurent Didier, TREK – SEGAFREDO, at 0:00

Top 10 GC after stage 4

  • 1. Peter Sagan, BORA – HANSGROHE, in 14:19:49
  • 2. Daryl Impey, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:02
  • 3. Jay McCarthy, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:09
  • 4. Luis Leon Sanchez, ASTANA PRO TEAM, at 0:10
  • 5. Diego Ulissi, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:14
  • 6. Robert Gesink, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 0:14
  • 7. Rui Costa, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:14
  • 8. George Bennett, TEAM LOTTONL-JUMBO, at 0:14
  • 9. Dries Devenyns QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:14
  • 10. Egan Arley Bernal, TEAM SKY, at 0:14

Friday’s 128-kilometer fourth stage of the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under from Norwood to Uraidla was for the riders hoping to claim overall victory. There was only categorized climb in the stage route, but it came extremely late in the stage. The cat. 1 Norton Summit Road (5.8km at 5%) peaked with a mere 7.4 kilometers remaining. However, the KOM point was not at the actual summit, as the riders had to climb for two more kilometers before the downhill began. Intense heat would again play a role, as the mercury crept over the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark. Race organizers even changed the start time to an hour earlier in an attempt to avoid the hottest part of the day.

The UniSA duo of Zakkari Dempster and Alexander Porter broke away from the peloton in the opening kilometers. They built an advantage of nearly 10 minutes before the peloton began to take notice. Mitchelton-Scott took the onus of setting the pace in the bunch and beginning to bring back the lead, as they were the team of race leader Caleb Ewan. Mitchelton-Scott also had Impey in with a chance for the stage win.

A hard chase by the likes of Mitchelton-Scott and Bora-Hansgrohe shaved nearly five minutes off the gap to the leading duo over the course of the middle 50 kilometers of the stage. Dempster and Porter were only four minutes in front of the peloton entering the final 50 kilometers to the finish. A much more manageable gap. The duo was sure to tire and struggle up the final climb, having spent all day working hard in the heat while the GC contenders and rouleurs of the peloton sat in the wheels.

Soon Dempster was alone in the lead, as the heat had zapped away all of Porter’s energy. The young rider took one last long and hard pull up a short uncategorized climb for Dempster before he was finally dropped on the descent. Dempster’s gap to the peloton still hovered around four minutes with 40 kilometers to go.

Dempster was brought back by the peloton a few kilometers before the climb Norton Summit Road with 15-kilometers remaining.

The peloton hit the climb all together with BMC Racing at the front of the bunch. First Miles Scotson set the pace and then four-time Tour Down Under overall winner Simon Gerrans took over. They were sacrificing themselves for their leader Porte.

While Norton Summit Road is a first category climb, it is not terribly difficult. The riders were averaging nearly 30kph (18.6mph) up the climb. Gerrans led a rather large select group over the KOM point at the top with Porte crossing in second. However, the climb was not quite finished. After about a kilometer of flat, there was one last steep 800-meter kicker before the descent into Uraidla.

Brendan Canty (EF Education First-Drapac) and Gorka Izagirre (Bahrain-Merida) attacked out of the group just before the riders hit the steep kicker. Team Sunweb had multiple riders in the group and quickly shut down the attack by Canty and Izaguirre.

Once over the main climb, the descent to the finish was not straightforward. The road dipped and dived toward the finish, creating multiple opportunities for attacking. Port and George Bennett (LottoNL-Jumbo) took advantage of one the rollers to attack and get a gap. Sagan bridged across the gap with Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing) and Izagirre in tow, creating five out front.

The World Champion attacked over the top of Porte and Bennett and soon was alone in the lead with a mere two kilometers remaining. Porte chased the move down with the others on his wheel and soon the whole group of around 40 riders was back together as the attackers lost their lead due to watching each other instead of riding full-steam ahead.

Dani Moreno (EF Education First-Drapac) tried to attack inside the final kilometer, but it didn’t work out and he served as simply a lead-out man for the sprint.

The sprint to the finish was incredibly fast with the riders cadence quick enough that they were unable to stand up. Sagan proved to have the quickest legs, passing Impey inside the final 25 meters.

Sagan will wear the Ochre leader’s jersey on Saturday for the queen stage of the race, as the riders will tackle the famous climb of Willunga Hill. BMC Racing’s Porte has won atop the climb the last four years.

Full results to come

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No KBK defense as Sagan goes all-in for northern classics

ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) — If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

That’s the thinking inside Bora-Hansgrohe as the team plots the 2018 calendar for three-time world champion Peter Sagan.

Sagan will follow a familiar roadmap through the 2018 season, with three peaks focused on the northern classics, the Tour de France, and the world championships.

In fact, his schedule is nearly identical to what he raced last year. The only real wrinkle is that he will skip the Belgian classics openers at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, the latter of which he won in 2017.

“The big goal is for Peter to be in top condition for the northern classics,” said Bora-Hansgrohe trainer Patxi Vila. “Peter already has a place among the best with his three world titles. Now he wants to win more monuments.”

Sagan debuts his 2018 campaign with an evening criterium Sunday and then with the six-stage Santos Tour Down Under on Tuesday. He hasn’t raced since his dramatic third world title in Bergen, Norway last September.

The 27-year-old Slovakian has already been in Australia for nearly two weeks as he’s taken advantage of the warm weather to prepare for the start of a new campaign.

“I hope it is good preparation for the coming season. It is time to make some race kilometers, and with some good weather,” Sagan said. “It’s a no-stress race, it’s very nice to start the season here.”

Vila said Sagan will skip the pair of Belgian classics to be able to spend more time with his new son, Marlon, born in October. Between a busy racing schedule and high-altitude training camps, Sagan wants to be able to spend at least a few weeks his new son at home.

After racing Paris-Roubaix, Sagan will take a short break before ramping up for the Tour de France. He’ll repeat his now-familiar schedule, with starts at the Tour of California and Tour de Suisse before a return to the Tour.

Sagan will take another short break following the Tour before preparing for the worlds in Austria. It’s unlikely he will return to the Vuelta a España, where he wasn’t raced since 2015. The past two years, Sagan has raced in a mix of shorter stage races and one-day races before the worlds.

Despite the heavy climbing course in Innsbruck, Vila said Sagan shouldn’t be counted out.

“The worlds are a special race. There is a lot of climbing, but it all depends on how the race unfolds,” he said. “It’s too far away to think too much about the worlds right now. He will be there, but first, we look to the classics and the Tour. Then we’ll make a plan for the worlds based on how things stand.”

Sagan’s 2018 schedule

Tour Down Under
Strade Bianche
Tirreno-Adriatico
Milano-Sanremo
E3-Harelbeke
Gent-Wevelgem
Tour of Flanders
Scheldeprijs
Paris-Roubaix
Tour of California
Tour de Suisse
Tour de France
— To Be Determined —
World championships

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VN podcast, ep. 64: The big stories of 2018; religion in cycling

Welcome to the VeloNews cycling podcast, where we discuss the latest trends, news, and controversies in the world of cycling.

To kick off the new year, we examine the key stories to watch in 2018: Sagan vs. Van Avermaet, Froome’s Salbutamol scandal, and much more. We are joined by our new reporter, Dane Cash of VeloHuman and the Recon Ride podcast to look ahead to the coming cycling season.

Later in the show, Fred Dreier talks about a story he wrote for the January/February issue of VeloNews magazine about religion and cycling. Lots of top professionals are religious, but they often feel compelled to keep their faith under wraps. An organization called Athletes in Action is endeavoring to help support them and provide a community.

If you like what you hear, subscribe to the VeloNews podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play. Also, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk training podcast with Trevor Connor.

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Kings of the classics prepare for 2018 battles

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — The kings of the 2017 classics are preparing for battle this 2018 season, starting in the next weeks in Australia, Argentina, and Spain. Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wants to win Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix, but Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors), and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) are ready for the challenge as well.

On Jan. 1, teams revealed their official rosters and team jerseys for the new season. Slovakian Sagan, 27, looks the same in his rainbow jersey thanks to his third consecutive world title in September. During the team photographs and camps, he and the German WorldTour team confirmed his 2018 program and goals.

“Not much has changed,” Sagan told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “I’ll race Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico before Milano-Sanremo. It’s a classic run to Flanders and Roubaix.

“My wish? Milano-Sanremo and Paris-Roubaix victories. But if I could pull off Flanders again … that wouldn’t be bad!”

The classics start with the opening weekend in Belgium (Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne on Feb. 24 and 25), and continue with races like E3 Harelbeke, Dwars door Vlaanderen, and Ghent-Wevelgem. The big ones fall on March 17 (Milano-Sanremo), April 1 (Tour of Flanders), and April 8 (Paris-Roubaix). After that, another group of riders will compete for the Ardennes and build toward the grand tours.

Sagan’s classics group returns stronger than before. He relies on his brother Juraj, Marcus Burghardt, Lukas Pöstlberger, Maciej Bodnar, and new arrival Daniel Oss. Oss came from the team of Sagan’s No. 1 classics rival, BMC’s Van Avermaet. Sagan and Oss raced together at Liquigas for three years when Sagan first turned professional in 2010.

“I’m very happy to have him,” Sagan added. “He’s a good friend, and a great rider.”

Van Avermaet partly won the 2017 Paris-Roubaix thanks to Oss’s work. However, BMC assembled another strong team to support the Belgian leader. Jürgen Roelandts, from team Lotto-Soudal, will take over the spot left blank.

Gilbert won the Tour of Flanders in 2017 and Van Avermaet, after a crash with a fan, finished second and fell short of getting his dream win.

“I will always say Flanders is the most important,” Van Avermaet said. “It’s the race that fits me the best, and I’d like to win. If I am honest, my biggest dream is to win Flanders. I want to be good there.”

Gilbert succeeded in a remarkable 55.5-kilometer solo win in Flanders. With the victory, Quick-Step general manager Patrick Lefevere decided to renew Gilbert and further support him.

Tom Boonen retired and Matteo Trentin joined Mitchelton-Scott. Niki Terpstra and Zdenek Stybar will lead the 2018 races for Quick-Step with Gilbert, while Colombian sprinter Fernando Gaviria will join for experience.

“At the end of the 2017 season, we said goodbye to riders who have played important roles in the success of the team over the years, but as we have seen, the next generation of leaders, die-hard kilometer zero pullers, domestiques, sprinters, and puncheurs is flourishing,” said Lefevere.

“I have the greatest confidence that we have the right combination of experienced riders who can take on the responsibility and live up to the very high expectations and pressure.”

Sky’s Kwiatkowski topped Sagan and Julian Alaphilippe in a three-up sprint to win Milano-Sanremo in 2017. That and his Tour de France ride for Chris Froome earned him a new three-year deal.

Sky will support Kwiatkowski again in the opening classics, with Ian Stannard and Gianni Moscon playing helper roles. Luke Rowe is slowly returning from a broken leg, but the team also has Dylan Van Baarle (from team Cannondale-Drapac) and second-year professionals Owain Doull and Jonathan Dibben.

For 2018, though, Kwiatkowski could return to the Tour of Flanders for the first time in two years. The race suits him, and he’s already won Milano-Sanremo, Strade Bianche, and E3 Harelbeke. Geraint Thomas, who is building toward the Tour de France, will return to Paris-Roubaix.

The idea is that Kwiatkowski could fit Flanders in and back off to return for Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Either way, he will take a break after Liège to be ready to help Froome in the Tour de France.

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Sagan’s off-season fun: Baking cookies, doing the splits

Sometimes it seems that triple world champion Peter Sagan is just as prolific on social media as he is on the bike. The Bora-Hansgrohe rider hasn’t raced since his third consecutive worlds win in Norway, September 24. So, he’s had plenty of time to entertain cycling fans with a variety of videos on Twitter and other social media.

To get into the holiday spirit, Sagan baked some gingerbread cookies for equipment sponsor Specialized:

The Slovak probably didn’t eat many of those treats, based on how astonishingly limber he is:

Maybe Sagan is a few steps behind Jean-Claude van Damme, but he does more than the splits. Earlier in December, the champ posted a video advocating for bicycle commuting:

And on a serious note, Sagan expressed his support for Californians who are affected by the recent spate of wildfires:

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Garbage Takes: Is the TDF Sagan saga over?

The Garbage Takes opinion column has been on hiatus during the off-season. However, when news came down that the UCI and Peter Sagan had settled the Tour de France DSQ case, we couldn’t resist. As always, these takes are purely commentary and for entertainment purposes only!

The UCI and Peter Sagan have settled a lawsuit that goes back to a sunny day this past July in Vittel, France. Sagan was kicked out of the Tour de France for allegedly elbowing Mark Cavendish into the barriers. Cavendish abandoned the race with a broken collarbone. Who was to blame? As we learned this week, apparently nobody. The UCI labeled the entire ordeal an “unintentional race incident,” ending months of Gif analysis by armchair videotape analysts (his elbow DID NOT MOVE ON ITS OWN!)

At last, cycling’s governing body has reached the same conclusion as millions of Twitter users — except it only took the fans about one day to figure it out.

The settlement must be chilly comfort for Sagan and his throngs of fans. If the NFL wrongfully kicked Tom Brady out of the Super Bowl and then apologized in August, would the Boston faithful be satisfied? Not bloody likely. Still, the UCI closed the book on the matter. But did they? I still have three outstanding questions.

How much are 18 Tour stages worth?

Does the UCI plan to reimburse Sagan or his team for it’s big SNAFU? Sagan was kicked out on stage 4, and thus missed plenty of publicity and marketing that comes from all of those victories and podiums. After all, that Tour route was perfect for him. We even predicted he might have won 11 stages! So how does one quantify all of those lost marketing impressions in real dollars? I know that everyone in pro cycling is an armchair marketing executive these days, with lots to say about social campaigns and the CPM value of Instagram pictures. I tell you, I’ve looked at a few handy websites dedicated to all of this marketing BS, and my brain has melted from too much talk about Ad Value Equivalence (AVE) and CPM value. My guesstimate is that Sagan and his team lost out on a billion kajillion dollars worth of advertising. So, my solution is to have the UCI simply post Peter Sagan photos on its Instagram feed 20 times a day for the rest of the decade. And yes, I’ll just take everyone’s word that cycling is the best advertising value in pro sports — so long as the governing body doesn’t accidentally boot out your star rider.

Can the Tour implement ‘coach’s challenge?’

Here’s a tidbit from Bora-Hansgrohe’s statement on the settlement: UCI president David Lappartient says, “The UCI intends to engage a ‘support commissaire’ to assist the Commissaires Panel with special video expertise on the main events of the UCI World Tour.” Video expertise? That sounds to me like cycling is creeping closer to instant replay. This could be a step in a strange direction. Will cycling also impose a coach’s challenge system like we see in the NFL? I sincerely hope so. I’d love to see team directors and riders chucking red challenge flags during the middle of a race. Do riders have to do a penalty lap if they don’t overturn the ruling on the “field?” Or, maybe we should just leave this up to the directors in the team cars. If we aren’t careful, the riders could start chucking these red flags into each other’s spokes like the Italians did with a frame pump to David in “Breaking Away.”

Can Cavendish and Sagan hug it out?

After the UCI and Bora-Hansgrohe issued their press releases, Mark Cavendish’s Dimension Data team issued a statement saying it was “surprised” to be excluded from the hearing. The team felt it should have been part of the investigation that analyzed the race footage, since Cavendish got a front-row seat (or course fence) to the carnage. In all honesty, Dimension Data has a point. Still, I see this complaint as a big publicity opportunity for the UCI. The organization could hold a live televised judgement for all of the kerfuffles that occurred during the season. Hold it during the off-season. Give the fans a show! I’m envisioning a cycling-themed court show, similar to “Judge Judy” or “The People’s Court.” The UCI could hire a charismatic arbiter (Tom Boonen? Jens Voigt?) to oversee the plaintiff and defendant. The arbiter could take a studio audience through the entire proceedings and then, bam! Make the judgement. If that won’t get fans fired up for the 2018 cycling season, I am fresh out of good ideas.

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Bora’s 2018 goals: Monument win, grand tour top-five, TDF green

Peter Sagan’s Bora-Hansgrohe team laid out ambitious goals for the coming season at its 2018 team presentation Thursday in Schiltach, Germany. After what he described as “a tough season with lots of ups and downs,” team manager Ralf Denk said his squad aims to win one of cycling’s five monuments, win the Tour de France’s green jersey competition, place a rider in the top-five overall at a grand tour, and finish the year top-five in WorldTour rankings.

“Last year was a big step up for us and it’s almost impossible to make everything right from the beginning,” Denk added. The past season was the outfit’s first year in the WorldTour after six years as a Pro Continental team. “During the winter, we will work on a lot of performance projects, aerodynamics, training, nutrition. I feel we can do better than we did this season and everybody in the team is focused on improvements.”

Although Denk rues Sagan’s 2017 misfortunes — the crash at Tour of Flanders, the flat tires at Paris-Roubaix, and the disqualification at the Tour de France — Bora earned 33 UCI victories. Its riders combined to win one stage in each grand tour. Sagan won an unprecedented third consecutive world championship title.

The team’s lofty 2018 goals rest primarily on Sagan’s shoulders. The 27-year-old will be the man to win a monument race, perhaps Flanders, where he was victorious in 2016. Or, he could go for Roubaix redemption after the rough pavé foiled his 2017 campaign.

Sagan is also a shoo-in to win his sixth green jersey at the Tour, barring catastrophe, which would tie Erik Zabel’s record in that classification.

To finish top-five in a grand tour, Bora will likely look to Poland’s Rafal Majka.

“It was the first time I tried to go for the GC in the Tour de France this year. Obviously, it didn’t work out as planned for us,” Majka, 28, said. He crashed heavily and later withdrew on stage 10.

“The Tour showed why it’s the hardest race in the world to be won. But I want to try again next season, I never surrendered in my career, cycling is always about getting up on your feet again.” In 2015, Majka showed his potential in grand tour GC, finishing third at the Vuelta a España.

If Bora-Hansgrohe can achieve its first three goals, or at least get a few more big wins out of Sagan, it will likely secure its fourth and final objective of a top-five WorldTour ranking. It ended 2018 eighth out of 18 teams.

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Cavendish’s team ‘surprised’ by UCI/Sagan settlement of TDF crash

Team Dimension Data said it was ‘surprised’ not to be included when Peter Sagan settled his legal dispute with the UCI Tuesday. Sagan was ejected from the 2017 Tour de France after tangling with Dimension Data’s Mark Cavendish.

“As riders and teams, we want all parties to work together to make racing safe and enjoyable. We understood this dispute was over the process that prevented Bora-Hansgrohe from stating their case to the race jury,” Dimension Data said in a statement. “However, following today’s announcement it seems the investigation also included reviewing the actual race incident. Given that we are the team with the rider who ultimately suffered the most as a result of this incident, we were surprised to not be included to offer our insights to the investigation.”

The crash in Vittel effectively ended Cavendish’s season due to a broken shoulder blade. He went on to start Tour of Britain and seven other lower-tier UCI races but admitted that he still wasn’t fully recovered from the injury.

Dimension Data reiterated its contention that Cavendish was not to blame for the crash.

In a statement from his Bora-Hansgrohe team, Sagan said, “The past is already forgotten.”

However, it seems Dimension Data might not agree. Its team principal Doug Ryder will request a more detailed explanation from the UCI following the out-of-court settlement.

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UCI: Sagan-Cavendish Tour crash was ‘unintentional race incident’

FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Just hours before a hearing on the Tour de France crash involving Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), the UCI reached an out-of-court deal to settle the case.

Blasting into Vittel on July 4, Cavendish worked his way ahead on the right side of the road when Sagan’s right elbow shot out. Cavendish fell at high speed when he ran out of room and broke his right shoulder blade. He abandoned the race and Sagan was booted a short time later when the UCI jury applied rule 12.1.040 for irregular sprinting.

“Having considered the materials submitted in the CAS proceedings, including video footage that was not available at the time when the race jury had disqualified Peter Sagan, the parties agreed that the crash was an unfortunate and unintentional race incident and that the UCI Commissaires made their decision based on their best judgment in the circumstances,” read a joint statement from Bora and the UCI.

“On this basis, the parties agreed not to continue with the legal proceedings and to focus on the positive steps that can be taken in the future instead.”

Immediately after the incident, Bora filed an express appeal to sport’s high court, the CAS, to reinstate its star in the Tour, but the court backed the jury’s decision. Bora argued that the race jury should have heard Sagan’s side of the story before ruling, but the jury defended its decision at the time.

The CAS gave Bora its space in Lausanne, Switzerland, and was due to hear the case today. The team had lost a precious marketing opportunity and a chance for WorldTour points when its newly signed star Sagan was sent home early into the Tour. It signed him last winter for an estimated 4 million euros annually.

Sagan disagreed with the ruling and a court case appeared ready to be heard. However, both the team and the UCI avoided a battle and released statements overnight, with Sagan’s team coming out on top.

“The past is already forgotten,” said the three-time defending world champion Sagan. “It’s all about improving our sport in the future. I welcome the fact that what happened to me in Vittel has showed that the UCI commissaires’ work is a difficult one and that the UCI has recognized the need to facilitate their work in a more effective way. I am happy that my case will lead to positive developments, because it is important for our sport to make fair and comprehensible decisions, even if emotions are sometimes heated up.”

Cavendish and Dimension Data had not yet commented on the ruling when this article was published. In the Tour, Cavendish said of the decision to disqualify Sagan, “What you have to do here is take away the riders involved, take away the jerseys involved, and look at what happened. And that’s why we have a jury to make decisions.”

The statements said new video footage showed that the jury was wrong in its decision to say Sagan was mistaken last summer in Vittel.

“It has always been our goal to make clear that Peter had not caused Mark Cavendish’s fall,” Bora general manager Ralph Denk said. “This was Peter’s position from day one.

“No one wants riders to fall or get hurt, but the incident in Vittel was a race accident as can happen in the course of a sprint. My job as a team manager is to protect my riders and sponsors. I think that this is what we, as a team, have done. I am reinforced in my view that neither Peter nor Bora-Hansgrohe have made any mistakes.”

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