SAN JUAN, Argentina (VN) — Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) begins the 2019 Vuelta a San Juan “relaxed” after already nailing one win in his palmarès at the Santos Tour Down Under earlier this January.
The former three-time world champion is building towards the classics this March and April. The early season races like this one along the Andes in the famous Malbec wine region serves as training.
“I’m relaxed,” Sagan said. “It’s my second race of the year and so I’m relaxed.
“The season is only just starting and the more important races are coming in March and April. I’m still trying to get into my best shape.”
Sagan won the third stage of the Santos Tour Down Under in Uraidla. The race kicked off the WorldTour calendar.
“It’s always good to win something early,” added Sagan, “but I just hope it’s not my best result of the year.”
In the Vuelta a San Juan, ranked 2.1, he will race over seven days. Four stages should suit the sprinters, one time trial of 12km, a stage for the all-rounders, and one for the climbers.
In the sprints, Sagan will face Fernando Gaviria (UAE-Team Emirates), Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data), Alvaro Hodeg (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), and others.
“There are some stages that suit me but we’ve got Sam Bennett here too for the sprints,” explained Sagan. “I think Sam is faster for the flat stages and for me there’s no problem helping him or to be in the front for him.”
Last year in the Tour Down Under, Sagan also worked for Irish team-mate Sam Bennett. Bennett went on to win three stages of the Giro d’Italia in May.
“A stage win would be good for me, perhaps where’s there’s a small climb at the finish. We’ll see.”
Sagan made a trans-Pacific flight from Adelaide to arrive in Argentina’s west, an area marked by Malbec vineyards and rolling hills. After this race, he flies from Buenos Aires to Europe for the meat of his season.
He will race Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico as a lead-up to the monuments and classics starting with Milano-Sanremo on March 23. He is due to continue through to Liège-Bastogne-Liège over a month later.
“We decided to do some race kilometers in Australia and then here, so that after I focus on my training in Europe and do some altitude training,” continued Sagan.
“I’ll start a little later with Tirreno-Adriatico. I like that plan.”