FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — After a spring that included a Paris-Roubaix victory, three-time defending world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is ready to return to the 2018 Tour de France in an attempt to win a sixth green jersey.
Sagan is finishing his preparation for the July 7 race start in Vendée with the Slovakian national championships and some last-minute training.
“It’s not rocket science,” his trainer and team sport director Patxi Vila told VeloNews.
“He will have a small period of preparation in the last week before the Tour. We are waiting, recovering after the Tour de Suisse, heading to the nationals for some hard riding.”
Sagan added a second monument victory to his list this year with an attack from 55 kilometers out at Paris-Roubaix. He closed it with a sprint in the Roubaix velodrome for the famous cobblestone trophy.
He and the team then decided to push ahead another week and race the Amstel Gold Race, where he placed fourth in the Dutch race behind winner Michael Valgren (Astana).
“The Tour of California was one week earlier than other years for him because of he was in Amstel. So the first part of the season was one week longer,” Vila said. “In California, he was a little short, but in Tour de Suisse, he was where he was in the last years. And now we are pretty close to what his normal standard is for this period of the season.”
Sagan will spend his last days going over the 3-1-2 plan that Vila sent to him: three hard days, one day of rest, and two work days. Rest means rest, so Sagan could spend time with his wife and baby boy in Monaco. The others, Vila said, will be “an intensive ride” or “a strength ride.”
Sagan is returning to the Tour after the race jury disqualified him following stage 4 last year. He made contact with Mark Cavendish in the mad dash the finish line and Cavendish went down hard, breaking a shoulder blade. He won one stage in the race but missed out on the chance to contend for a sixth consecutive points title.
“The goal, to win the green jersey and a stage win or wins would be super,” Vila said.
Stage 9 of next month’s Tour covers 21.7km of cobbles used in Paris-Roubaix and finishes in the former mining town of Roubaix in the country’s north. Sagan knows those roads well, especially after winning there on April 8.
“It’s a tricky stage for GC because we also need to support Rafal Majka, we don’t just have Peter,” Vila added.
Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar, Marcus Burghardt, and Gregor Mühlberger will all be important players on the stage, the last of a nine-day run before the Tour’s first rest day and mountain stages.
“We have a really strong team for that stage. We hope to do well and why not the stage win also?” Vila said. “For sure, that is a stage that suits Peter perfectly, as it does other good classics riders. But it’s a good opportunity for us to have a stage win.”