“To extend my record of stage wins will be an additional motivation”, Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe) says ahead of the 2019 Amgen Tour of California (May 12-18).
Make it 10 participations in a row. Peter Sagan’s successes have brought him all around the World, from his native Slovakia up to the highest European summits, through Asia and all the way down to South America. He is sought after everywhere, as cycling’s number 1 champion. And he always comes back to California where he claimed 17 wins (16 stages and the overall classification in 2015) and became a “King”.
“I haven’t missed a single edition of the Amgen Tour of California since I turned professional in 2010, so it is only normal to have a lot of good memories, given the fact as well that California is one of my favorite places in the world”, Peter Sagan says ahead of the 2019 edition of America’s unique WorldTour (May 12-18, 2019).
After the European Spring classics and ahead of the Tour de France in July, “the Amgen Tour of California fits perfectly in my racing calendar”, the legendary three-time World Champion highlights. And in return, his wide set of skills perfectly matches the race’s challenges as well as the crowd’s hopes for a spectacular race.
“I come to give my best and achieve the best result possible”, he describes. “When I cross the finish line and I know I raced the best way I could, that I have given it my all and that I couldn't have done anything better, then I'm satisfied with what I achieved.”
In California, this approach has already brought him 16 stage wins (Mark Cavendish, who previously held the record, has 10). He also claimed the general classification in 2015, making the Amgen Tour of California of the three stage races he dominated overall (out of 110 professional wins, mostly claimed on single stages and one-day races). And he is far from done: “To extend my record of stage wins will be an additional motivation”, he anticipates.
Californian crowds can brace themselves for another show from a rider who’s always hared a special bond with them: “They are so enthusiastic, they love cycling and it's so heartwarming to see them cheering not just for me, but for every rider, regardless of their team. To me this is special and I think we have to be grateful to them. I'm, obviously, thrilled by the way they welcome me and California feels like a second home to me.”
Peter Sagan has fully invested this second home: outside of the Amgen Tour of California, he visits the West Coast as an enthusiast - “San Francisco and San Diego are two of my favorite cities and whenever I'm in California I always try to spend a few days there” - and he’s also developed his own events for amateur riders, the Sagan Fondos.
“California offers everything you need for cycling, whether you are a hobby cyclist or a pro”, Peter Sagan explains. “It has the Amgen Tour of California, a great race with a strong field of competitors, nice weather that allows you to ride most of the year and practically any type of terrain you might require, be it flat, hilly or mountain. In addition, roads are good and if you go outside the main urban areas, there is little road traffic.”
That’s the dream, and Peter Sagan will keep living it in the next edition of the Amgen Tour of California, where he’ll tie former American rider Benjamin Jacques-Maynes’ record for the most participations in the race (10). At only 29 years old, you can expect the Slovak to set more landmarks in the coming years.