“My wish is to try tomorrow and we’ll see if I can make it through the climbs,” Sagan said at a press conference ahead of the Zoom Nice race.
” But why not? After that, it’s too hard on the second stage. The third step might be OK. When all the sprinters arrive, it’s a bit of a lottery. If I can manage to choose harder stages and pass the climbs, it will be easier. But it is more difficult to pass the climbs. ”
Sagan could have taken a back seat to Bora-Hansgrohe’s overall standings ambitions had it not been for a series of unfortunate crashes that injured three of the team’s climbers in the race: Emanuel Buchmann, fourth in the Tour de France last year, and assistant Gregor Mühlberger was injured in the Dauphiné, and Paris-Nice winner Max Schachmann is still recovering from a broken collarbone from an accident at Il Lombardia.
Team principal Enrico Poitschke said the team will support Sagan for the sprint competition.
“Getting a jersey in the Tour de France is always one of the biggest goals of the year. Peter has shown seven times and he’s really motivated to do it again. The whole team will support him, ”said Poitschke.
“The goal is to win a stage with Peter. In GC we have to see how it works in the early days. It’s very different from other years. We have never had such a hard and intense start in the Tour de France. On that side, we’ve really assessed and will assess how guys feel before we think about GC. ”
If the team’s GC runners manage to find good form during the race, the team may need to transfer some resources from the sprint train, but Sagan says he’s used to being independent.
“I did Tours de France with Alberto Contador as leader and I was also alone when I was with Tinkoff so I’m used to it,” said Sagan.
“Of course I’m happy for Daniel [Oss] Help me. We will see from day to day how it goes. It is very important to be very focused every day, focused for the intermediate sprints and after for the finish. ”
This year’s course, Sagan says, presents a greater challenge with increasingly difficult climbs each week. ”
This year, it’s actually a very difficult Tour de France, there are a lot of climbs, ”said Sagan.
“I have never had such an experience during a Grand Tour with a lot of altitude [like] we are going to do this year, but it’s the same for everyone. The more you spend one day, the more you pay the next day. ”
Few of the other sprinters in the race demonstrated abilities in the mountains like Sagan.
Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) has explicitly stated that he will not be looking for the green jersey, but only the stages. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) would normally be a key rival but his squad are fully GC-focused with Primoz Roglic and Tom Dumoulin. Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep) may be his closest match, but Sagan didn’t choose a name.
“We will see during the Tour. Now, for sure, there are a lot of runners. But after a week we can already see which runners are still there, ”he said.
Sagan said the fact that the Tour de France continues with postponed dates was a “light at the end of a tunnel” during the long coronavirus lockdown. A further increase in cases around Nice has sounded the alarm.
“I hope we manage to finish this year. It also depends on how the people around us react to our races and what attitude they will adopt, ”said Sagan.
“We are stuck in a Tour de France bubble. I could see it already yesterday, everyone has been tested. The presentation was pretty sad without the people but that’s how it is.
“The atmosphere will be different around the race, but there will certainly be more safety for everyone,” added Sagan.
“It’s much better to have the atmosphere at home and maybe watch the race on TV. It’s a bit sad for everyone but you have to do all of these things to be able to start and finish the Tour de France. “