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Peter Sagan’s motivation? Riding the big races

Sagan selective with schedule in order to remain focused for season spanning from Sanremo to the worlds.

SAN JUAN, Argentina (VN) — Simply racing and targeting the big events, like the upcoming classics, motivates Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe).

The Slovakian already won the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, stages in the Tour de France and three world titles. Some races are missing, like Milano-Sanremo. Those races and just being on top when it matters, keep Sagan going.

“Well, in the end, it’s the only thing I have,” Sagan said of cycling. “What keeps me motivated? It’s my job.”

Sagan shot to the top nearly as soon as he began racing in the top events. Since, he has won sprints and one-day races around the world.

In the Tour de France, he counts six points classification wins and 11 stage wins. Last year in the classics, he checked off Paris-Roubaix with a solo attack.

Sagan began his 2019 season in the Tour Down Under. He won stage three. Afterward, he flew from Australia to Argentina to race the Vuelta a San Juan.

“I try to be motivated for the big races, I did Tour Down Under and I’m here in San Juan. I try to be here and train and not take it too seriously, afterwards it’s a long season,” Sagan explained.

“The classics are hard to finish, physically and mentally. If you go from Milano-Sanremo [March 23] to maybe Liège-Bastogne-Liège [April 28] this year, it’s going to be hard. After, the Tour de France and the preparation for the Tour, and you prepare for three weeks and you have to be focused all the time.

“Sure the GC riders have pressure and have to be focused, but also me for stages and the green jersey. And at the end of the season, it’s the world championship and you have to be focused for that too.”

Sagan this year decided to skip Strade Bianche and start his European campaign in Tirreno-Adriatico. The adjustment could allow him to continue through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège. It will be the first time he races the Belgian monument, this year finishing on the flats in the center of Liège.

“I’ve been second and third in Strade Bianche, it’d give me pleasure to win it. It’s now WorldTour. It’d be good to win it, but you can’t have everything in life,” Sagan continued.

“We changed it somewhat, with these two stage races [Down Under and San Juan]. I’ll stop and I’ll try to continue with good training and altitude. Afterwards, it’s no use to go to Strade Bianche. If you don’t race beforehand, you can compete there but you aren’t going to win. That’s why I skip it and go to Tirreno-Adriatico.

“I hope to make progress there and try to go from Milano-Sanremo to Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Like Philippe Gilbert maybe, who went to Flanders, then stopped and returned for the [Ardennes Classics]. If you go to Roubaix, it’s hard.”

Sagan in 2018 raced from mid-January through to the end of September. It is a complete schedule, but he has the ability to win in almost every race.

“It’s not negative, but positive. It’s what I choose,” Sagan added. “People ask me if I want to go for the GC in the Tour de France. I’m a different rider and use what I have.”