COMPIEGNE, France, April 12, 2014 (AFP) – Much hyped Slovakian rider Peter
Sagan insisted his confidence for Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix race had not been
knocked despite a poor 16th place finish at last week’s Tour of Flanders.
The 24-year-old Cannondale rider went into last week’s cobbled classic as
many people’s second favourite behind eventual winner Fabian Cancellara, but
failed to match the Swiss star’s acceleration on the Kwaremont climb 17km from
home and played no part in the race for victory.
It was yet another chastening experience for Sagan on the northern cobbles
having also failed to muster a challenge last year when he was among the
Paris-Roubaix favourites following a second-placed finish in Flanders, but got
nowhere near challenging.
“Tomorrow (Sunday), many people can win, but I don’t know what will happen
in the race because you need luck,” said Sagan.
“It’s my third time (riding Paris-Roubaix), the first time I didn’t finish,
the second time I was happy to make it to the end. This time I’m looking to
“We’ll see how it goes, the favourites are always the same, that’s it.
We’ll see how well I do tomorrow.
“I feel good, the race is always different every year. I look forward to
tomorrow, it will be good, I’ll try to be on the front.”
As for his own victory chances, Sagan said last week’s disappointment did
not hinder his possibilities.
“One race was not very good but it’s still riding on the bike. I’m here for
what? For a holiday or what?
“I just want to ride in the group and I will see during the race after the
Arenberg Forest how it’s going.”
Sagan also claimed his poor showing in Flanders was due to other riders
waiting for him to chase down Cancellara.
“After Cancellara went, all the others were riding around me (rather than
chasing with him). At the end we all had the same legs and I couldn’t make the
difference over the others, and I finished where I did.
“But it’s always good experience, it’s a race where I can improve.
“It’s a very interesting race for me and I want to do well. It’s a race
I’ve ridden twice but it didn’t go well.
“But I’m 24 and I’ve got my whole future ahead of me.”