On a day that saw miserable weather dominate the middle section of the Strade Bianche, the black clouds continued for Peter Sagan as the world champion was forced to retire from the race due to illness.
Sagan started the day, keen not to disappoint his fans, but as the day went on, and in spite of staying in contention, the Slovak rider made the decision to protect his health ahead of some demanding races.
“I haven’t been feeling well for the past three days, and when I woke up this morning I was feeling weak and had a sore throat”, said Sagan. “However, the Strade Bianche is a prestigious race and I started today out of respect for the thousands of Italian fans who came to watch. I started and tried to do my best and race as much as I could. Around 75km after the start, I got tangled in a big pile-up and suffered a deep cut in my finger that will probably require a couple of stitches, as well as a hit to my left knee. I went on, but at 95km I decided to retire.”
“My decision wasn’t due to the crash, but simply because I wasn’t feeling well. I hope to recover as soon as possible and be able to perform at my best in the upcoming races.”
“Today everything went wrong for us. Marcus was involved in a big crash and had to wait for a car to change is bike, his race was more or less over at that point. Peter also crashed a little later. After sector 8 we thought about starting to pull on the front, because the gap was just 40 seconds at that time, but Peter came than back to the car and said he doesn’t feel good. So we decided together with him that it’s better to stop. Gregor, Christoph and Jay did fight hard then, but unfortunately we did not have the legs today to do a good result”, said Enrico Poitschke, Bora-hansgrohe sports director.
Peter Sagan will now concentrate on his recovery ahead of Tirreno Adriatico – known as the ‘Race of the Two Seas’, riders will face seven stages taking place between the Italian Tyrrhenian and Adriatic coasts.