VALKENBURG, Netherlands (VN) — Peter Sagan (Cannondale) crushed all the classics but fell to cramps in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race. Even if in position, he was unable to get out of his saddle and respond to the attacks.
Showered, fresh and with a cool head, he told VeloNews that the warm weather, which temperatures in the 80s (Fahrenheit), played its part.
“Today wasn’t too good for me, it was the first hot race of the season. That’s it. I had cramps,” he said, sitting on the steps of the team bus.
“When we were going along at normal speeds in the group, I felt fine. When I had to do the last climb, I couldn’t get out of the saddle.”
The Terminator placed second in Milano-Sanremo and Ronde van Vlaanderen, and won Gent-Wevelgem and Brabantse Pijl. Those were cold races, however.
“Yeah. In the last two months I was racing when it was 5 or 10 (Celsius) maximum, and now it’s 27. I’m not used to it yet. Yesterday it was still 15 or 10. It’s been two months since I’ve ridden in weather like this,” he said.
The sun came out for the Dutch classic, which was one of Sagan’s goals after a short break following Ronde. Cannondale still helped control the escape and placed Sagan in position for the final circuit.
Roman Kreuziger (Saxo-Tinkoff) attacked and rode towards the win. Behind, Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing) attacked and drew the favorites out. Sagan said at that moment the cramps kicked in.
“Peter is a man, he’s not a machine,” sports director Alberto Volpi told VeloNews.
“It was just cramps. He ate well, drank, but it was because there was a big difference from the cold in the earlier classics to today’s Amstel Gold. It’s like a 20-degree difference, and that made the difference.”
Volpi explained the team had an idea of Sagan’s cramps as early as 30km out. It put more weight on Alessandro De Marchi’s chances at that point.
Like Sagan, Volpi looked at the bright side.
“No, it’s not a bad sign for Sagan. It’s a bad sign for those riders who still haven’t won anything,” Volpi said.
“He’s won up until now. He can’t win all the time, he’s only 23 years old. Everyone keeps expecting great things from him in every race. He’s already done some great things. It’s okay if he didn’t go well today.”
Sagan and Cannondale’s top brass will decide in the next 24 hours if he will race Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday. It would be the final race before the Amgen Tour of California in May.
“We will see tomorrow,” Sagan said. “I’ll depend on how I wake up.”