Peter Sagan is off to another winning start, finishing first on day one of the Tour of Sardinia in Porto Cervo today. He won ahead of 2008 World Champion Alessandro Ballan and Liquigas-Cannondale team-mate Daniel Oss.

Sagan, 21 years old from Slovakia, won five times in his professional debut last year. In Paris-Nice, two stages and the points classification; one stage of the Tour of Romandy and two stages, points and young rider classification in the Tour of California.

Sky’s Geraint Thomas is also racing in Sardinia as part of a British national team. He’s joined by Pete Kennaugh, Ben Swift, Ed Clancy, Andrew Tennant, Luke Rowe, Steven Burke and Sam Harrison. They completed the 138-kilometre stage today from Olbia to Porto Cervo.

Sagan benefited from Liquigas’ training camp earlier this year in Olbia, where he joined his older brother Juraj and Grand Tour winners, Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali. The team covered most of the Italian island, including the roads around Porto Cervo.

Two escapees dominated most of today’s stage to Porto Cervo. Sagan came to the front in the last kilometres with the help of another one of Liquigas’ young stars, 24-year-old Oss.

“Peter can go well in the one-day races, he’s explosive and has a build like Damiano Cunego or Oscar Freire,” said Liquigas sports director, Stefano Zanatta last year.

Brit Andrew Fenn stopped Sagan from winning the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2008. Sagan had been solo for most of the day only to be caught by Fenn in the last kilometre. Sagan raced the professional version for the first time last year, but a crash in the Arenberg Forest forced him eventually to abandon.

He continues tomorrow in Sardinia with the leader’s jersey. The stage will cover 197 kilometres and end with a climb. The race ends Saturday.

Results

Tour of Sardinia 2011, stage one: Olbia to Porto Cervo, 138km

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale


2. Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing

3. Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale

4. Daniele Pietropolli (Ita) Lampre-ISD

Overall classification after stage one

1. Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale