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Success down to destiny, says Tour de France overall leader Sagan

Monday,4 July 2016

Slovakia's Peter Sagan celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium, at the end of the 183 km 2nd stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race, in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Normandy, on July 3, 2016
Slovakia’s Peter Sagan celebrates his overall leader yellow jersey on the podium, at the end of the 183 km 2nd stage of the 103rd edition of the Tour de France cycling race, in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, Normandy, on July 3, 2016

Slovakia’s Peter Sagan put his recent success down to destiny after reaching a new milestone in a career where he is already world champion.

The 26-year-old will wear the iconic Tour de France yellow jersey for the first time ever on Monday following his victory in Sunday’s second stage.

The honour comes after the Tinkoff rider won the world title in September and his first prestigious “Monument” one-day classic in April.

Yet at last year’s Tour, Sagan was repeatedly frustrated by his inability to turn high placings into victories.

He hadn’t won a Tour stage for three years before Sunday and had racked up the near misses to such an extent that comparisons were being made to legendary French rider Raymond Poulidor, who finished second in the Tour three times and third five times, but never won it and never even donned the yellow jersey.

Before Sunday’s victory, Sagan had finished in the top three 27 times but won only four stages.

Last year, he complained that he was a marked man because everyone knew how fast he was in sprint finishes.

That, he said, was hampering his ability to win races as no-one wanted to work with him as they were all afraid he’d beat them in a sprint finish.

Yet since then, he’s achieved the greatest successes of his career.

He insists he’s doing nothing differently.

“No! For sure not, I don’t change anything. It’s like destiny, sometimes when you want to go up you have to fall down,” he said.

“I didn’t really fall, I was always there: second, third, second, third — OK, sometimes I won.

“I’m very happy with what I did in the last year. For sure in every big race you get more experience in life. Everything that happens in life, you get more experience. It’s like that.”

Sagan stands a good chance of keeping hold of the yellow jersey for the next four days before the overall contenders start their hostilities on Friday’s seventh stage.

That’s when the first major climb arrives on the Tour.

Monday’s third stage is long and flat and unless a breakaway stays clear and gains significant time, Sagan should be able to end the 223.5km run from Granville to Angers still in yellow.

But he says he’s more focused on simply enjoying the race.

“If I was second (on Sunday) I wouldn’t be here now,” said Sagan at the post-stage press conference.

“Life is life. Life brings me what I take. What can I change? Nothing.

“I believe everybody has some destiny, right in space somewhere.

“The first two years in professional cycling were stressful, but now I’m trying to enjoy it.”

Source by: AFP

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