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Peter Sagan has had a remarkable run of high placings in this year’s Tour de France. Consider the numbers: he was second four times, third twice, fourth on three occasions and fifth on stage fourteen.
In all he’s notched up ten top five placings out of 15 stages; remove the two time trials and that is ten out of thirteen opportunities.
He’s also been consistent in the intermediate sprints, taking first during Sunday’s stage to Valence.
All those considered, it’s no surprise that he’s well clear in the points classification and seems on course for his fourth green jersey.
However he’s still fighting hard for a stage win. He’s taken four during his career, but none since 2013. This is a major target, and his frustration was evident after being clear for much of the stage on Sunday then, after the break was caught, sprinting in for fourth.
Given he used up a considerable amount of energy starting the break and riding in it, his placing against much fresher riders was remarkable.
Still, speaking to reporters after the stage, it was clear that he was frustrated.
“I try. If you want something, you have to try,” he said. “I wanted to win for the fans. Today was a nice day, but unfortunately I didn’t win.”
Although Sagan has taken many victories during his pro career, he has had a staggering number of near misses. He’s an ambitious rider, he’s being paid to win, and he won’t be satisfied with his Tour unless he can cross the line first at least once in the remaining stages.
“I am trying every day. What can I do? Every day I am trying,” he said He then added with a hint of resignation, “if God wants, I win. If not, I come second, third…”