Stage winner interview with Peter Sagan (2nd stage)
Tour de Suisse: Did it feel a bit like a homecoming on that sunny day in Frauenfeld? Because it was already your 16th win at the Tour de Suisse, and the finish line was covered with huge Slovakian and world champion flags.
Peter Sagan: To be honest, every victory is sweet, in every race. However, my victories in Switzerland seem to be sweeter and establishing a new record in stage wins is always a nice motivation. Slovak fans are incredible, wherever I might be in the world they are always there and their signs of affection keep me going on.
TdS: That win at the first stage was your first victory after winning the Monument in Roubaix. Afterwards, you went on to win three stages at the Tour de France. How important was that victory in Frauenfeld for you right then?
PS: It was a very beautiful victory because the Tour de Suisse is a race I like so much. I love the scenery, the organization is amazing and runs like a Swiss watch. The fans are great and there is a strong field of competitors, which makes it as well a perfect preparation for the Tour de France.
TdS: It seemed a bit like people were talking even more about your action during the third stage than your victory the day before. Can you recall why you tried that brutal solo attack on the last climb the next day that left even the climbers behind?
PS: At times, you have to try something different, even if it seems risky. It's also good for the spectators, the TV audience and the race itself. It might not work in the end but you provide excitement and you make the race interesting.
TdS: Science and technique are becoming more and more important. Races tend to be fought during the last kilometres. Tactics and economizing strength and numbers often come before taking risks and panache. Is it fair to say that you try hard not to follow this trend too much?
PS: I try to follow my instinct and it's nice to make races exciting. However, we are professional athletes, so we have to adapt to the racing environment.
TdS: This years sees your 10th year at the WorldTour level. How do you manage to still enjoy racing, to have fun on the bike?
PS: I enjoy what I do and I like riding my bike! This is my motto in life, you have to enjoy what you do. This is the only way you can be the best and have fun, even after 10 years.
TdS: After all your success and solo attacks, the others in the peloton don’t let you go as easily as they maybe used to in the beginning. How did you have to transform as a rider over the early Liquigas and Cannondale years to nowadays?
PS: I have, obviously, matured as a person and as a rider while at the same time the goals and the stakes aren't the same either. It's obvious that as you progress in your career, as you achieve things, you approach things differently and your team or sponsors have different expectations from you. Still, deep down, I'm the same person, I haven't changed. I'm still someone that enjoys riding his bike and tries to give his best in every race.
TdS: Back at Cannondale and Tinkoff you seemed to be a lonely warrior; now, at BORA-hansgrohe, you are the leader and the team has become stronger and stronger every year. How does this fact make racing different for you?
PS: It is completely different when you are a young, nearly unknown rider, to when you target some of the season's biggest races. You need more support and this is what we have been doing at BORA-hansgrohe. I would say that in 2019 we have the most complete Classics team we have ever had. In the last three seasons we have been building a stronger team, we have taken riders that will bring strength and experience. It has been a continuous process and we will see how things play out this year.
TdS: You have quite a heavy programme this year, riding in almost all the Spring Classics. Do you try to focus on several races and see what happens, rather than put all the cards and pressure on one or two Monuments?
PS: This year I started my Classics campaign a bit later than usual because it is stretched until the end of April. So, we have a full month, starting with Milano-Sanremo and with several important races and Monuments. I think it would be silly to concentrate on one or two. If I go to a race, I go there to win, especially when it concerns those ones. I go on the start line, with one thing in my mind, to give the best I have that day. This is what I always do, no matter where I race.
TdS: Do you have some holidays planned, to relax a bit and take it easy before you race in the Tour de Suisse and then fight for stages and the green jersey at the Tour de France again?
PS: The period from February to August is the most intense of the year, you practically spend those months on your bike. You either train or race, so I don't have proper holidays, these come later on. The best way for me to relax when I have a day off is to spend time with my family, my loved ones and my friends.
TdS: You race all over the world. Is there something special you can recall from racing in Switzerland? Anything that got your attention or cought your eye?
PS: The Swiss Alps definitely offer some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world but the mountains and the climbs are hard and never seem to end. You go over a climb and then another one comes right after it.
TdS: Peter, thank you, all the best for all your races and looking forward seeing you in Switzerland in June.
PS: Thank you and I will try my best to thank as many fans as I can during the race. I really appreciate the Swiss crowds and hospitality and I'm sorry if anyone feels disappointed one day if I'm not able to sign an autograph or take a photo. It isn't because I didn't want to but because it isn't always possible.