Tinkoff-Saxo’s Peter Sagan finally claimed victory in the Ghent-Wevelgem on Sunday after a string of second places in previous races.
The Slovakian out-sprinted Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo), Fabian Cancellara (Trek), and Viacheslav Kuznetsov (Team Katusha) to claim his first victory whilst wearing the Rainbow Jersey and also his second Ghent-Wevelgem title.
Sagan has been known at the ‘nearly man’ as he has amassed over 70th career second places, but his victory at Ghent yesterday showed that he can perform when the pressure is on.
Sagan says he rides ‘for passion, not ambition’
It was a hugely entertaining race in Belgium, and it was on the Kemmelberg when Sagan, Cancellara, Vanmarcke and Kuznetsov broke away from the clutches of the peloton.
And in the final 500 metres, Sagan got onto the wheel of Kuznetsov and powered past the Katusha rider to take victory.
Two days earlier Sagan lost out to Team Sky’s Michal Kwiatkowski at E3 Harelbeke after the two escaped from the peloton with 30km remaining.
But speaking to Cycling Weekly after his impressive win, Sagan said: “Why would I panic?”
There has often been this stigma that a ‘curse’ is associated with the Rainbow Jersey, as rider who have worn it in the past haven’t been able to replicate their form from the previous season.
And it was beginning to look like Sagan was struggling with the extra burden and pressure, but Sagan said: “In life there’s more important things thing victories or second places. I’m riding for passion, not for ambition.”
Sometimes riders don’t get the rub of the green, and so far this season Sagan’s luck has deserted him and at time his tactical choices haven’t paid off, but they did yesterday.
And speaking of tactical choices, Sagan wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. “I said I won’t make the same mistake as before and pull to the finish,” like he did at E3 where Kwiatkowski pipped him to the line.