Peter Sagan wants to make one decisive move to win the World Championships next Sunday in Florence. Team Cannondale’s Slovak just returned from Canada, where he showed it is possible in the GP Montreal.
“It’s a circuit where if you waste you’re energy it’ll be dangerous,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. “It’s better just one move, but a significant one.”
Sagan won the GP Montreal with one such move. He chased down Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) and continued solo with 5.6 kilometres remaining. He said in a press release, “I saw that the others were a little bit tired and that’s why I went after Ryder.”
He will need similar strength and knowledge of his rivals in Florence on September 29. The course, with three significant climbs in the 10 circuits through the surrounding countryside, compares to Montreal or one of the one-day classics that Sagan did so well in earlier this season.
Sagan misjudged the sprint in Milan-San Remo (placing second) and was over-powered in the Tour of Flanders (again runner-up). Instead of the Poggio or the Paterberg, he will climb the Fiesole, Via Salviati and Trento. Fiesole is the major climb, but Salviati and Trento come later in the circuit.
Salviati is tucked between walls for much of its 600 metres and kicks up to 16% at some points. At its top, five kilometres remain. Trento is a small 200-metre long pass over the railroad tracks with views of Cipressa trees and the Renaissance city to the right. It is also the last rise in the road before the race finishes 2.8 kilometres later.
Many Slovakians followed the Tour de France, where Sagan won a stage and a second green jersey. They and many other fans want to see a solo attack like the one in Montreal or in Ghent-Wevelgem, where he motored away from a small 11-man group and wheelied for the waiting photographers. If that cannot happen, then Sagan could out-sprint his rivals.
“My chances at the World Championships are not so great,” said Sagan, “because Slovakia is a small country and we don’t have such a great team.”
Sagan will trade in his green Cannondale’s jersey for Slovakia’s white, blue and red jersey with a double-cross coat of arms. His last race for Cannondale prior to the road race will be the team time trial on Sunday. Instead of a full nine-man team, Slovakia only has six. It was the same last year; Sagan relied on his brother Juraj and the twins, Peter and Martin Velits. He faded on the Cauberg climb in Valkenburg and placed 14th. This year, however, he appears sharper and more robust. With eight wins post-Tour, compared to zero last year, he also appears on target for that one decisive move.
“It won’t be easy in Florence,” he told La Gazzetta, “In fact, it is going to be a big challenge for me.”