Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) is the reigning world champion and record holder of stage wins at the Tour de Suisse. In an exclusive interview with the tour organisation, he talks about his most memorable stage victory on the Swiss National Tour and his love-hate relationship with the mountain stages.
Peter Sagan, you have been taking part in the Tour de Suisse since 2010. Only in the first year (2010) you did not win a stage. Today, with 13 stage wins, you are the sole record holder. Which of your victories do you remember best?
Being the record holder of stage wins is a privilege and honour for me, and all the victories have been exciting for me. But most of all I remember one stage of last year. It was the third stage from Grosswangen to Rheinfelden. It was a long and hard stage and the weather conditions were pretty bad. 12 kilometres before the finish Albasini and Dillier formed an escape group with a 30-second lead over the field. I decided to take matters into my own hands and attacked on the last climb, the Schöneberg. I caught up with them in the fast downhill and gave everything for the last 10 kilometers. For the field was fast approaching. I was exhausted after the hard day, but I won the sprint – three seconds before the field. The advantage and the bonus seconds brought me the overall lead and the leader’s jersey. It was a tough stage that ended in a well-deserved victory!
Which of your seven participations in the Tour de Suisse do you remember the most?
I like the Tour de Suisse very much, so every participation is something special for me. But if I had to choose a round trip, it would be the one in 2012. Not only because I took four stage wins at that time, it was a great race week.
Switzerland always has an attractive course with some sprint arrivals, but also with crisp mountain stages. They do not belong to the mountain fleas and suffer more in the mountains than others. How do you approach these mountain stages?
There is no patent recipe for dealing with the mountains, whether in Switzerland or wherever. It always depends on my shape and my legs. Without strength in your legs, every mountain is a torture. But if my shape is right and my legs feel good, then the mountains are still hard, but a little bit easier.
Is there a special memory of a passport trip in Switzerland?
I have a special memory for all Swiss passports because none were easy…
One more word about the Tour de Suisse 2017. There are plenty of opportunities to improve your record. The races in Cham, Bern, Cevio and last but not least in Schaffhausen would be tailored to you. What do you think about the racing format of the 8th stage in Schaffhausen – a shorter stage (100km) on a fast circuit around Schaffhausen?
As already mentioned, it is a privilege to be the record holder of such a beautiful stage race as the Tour de Suisse. Basically I don’t think too much about extending the record. I start at the Tour de Suisse to give my best. I take the results as they come, as long as I know that I have done my best. If I manage to win with it and beat the record, it will be a great reward for my efforts. But it’s not my primary objective. I can cross the finish line quite happily if I don’t win, but I know that I have given everything. I will gladly give my assessment of stage 8 when I have finished it…