Peter Sagan crowned king of Tour of Slovakia as sprint second on stage 4 seals sensational overall home victory
Just 159.2km remained of the Tour of Slovakia, and it was going to be a nail-biting finish. Having claimed the yellow jersey of the overall leader on yesterday’s stage, Peter Sagan and the whole BORA-hansgrohe squad would be working to protect the Slovak national champion today. There were three categorised climbs to scale and, with all of the climbing over a little more than halfway into the stage, it would be a fast and combative race to the finish line in Trnava. Controlling the pace from the start, BORA-hansgrohe took to the front of the peloton to try to stop any dangerous breaks going out, while also policing the intermediate sprints, where valuable seconds for the GC contest could be taken. A large group went out at the start, with Peter in the mix here with his teammates, Daniel Oss and Frederik Wandahl keeping a watchful eye on Peter’s rivals in the overall standings while also delivering him to take time bonuses in the intermediate sprints. While the peloton made the catch after 50km of racing, the high speeds split the peloton in half with Peter, Daniel, Frederik and Maciej Bodnar in the lead group, and Peter taking three bonus seconds in the intermediate sprint shortly after. This select group of around twenty riders built a seven-minute lead over the peloton – a lead that appeared insurmountable as the race entered its final 15km and had extended to more than eight minutes with 5km remaining. However, contenders for the overall win were still in this lead group and so it was essential Peter be delivered in a strong position to contest the stage victory. Starting the sprint from a long way out, Peter bested his main rivals for the yellow jersey, taking second on the line and most importantly, claiming the overall victory in his first participation in the Tour of Slovakia by an eleven-second margin. In an exceptional result for BORA-hansgrohe, Peter also confirmed the green jersey of points leader and best Slovak rider, while Daniel Oss took the most combative rider of the stage and Maciej Bodnar earned a top ten position in the GC.
01 I.Einhorn 3h27’40”
02 P.Sagan + 0:00
03 C.Bol + 0:00
From the Finish Line
"This is a special day. It is my first ever participation in the Tour of Slovakia, so claiming the overall victory makes me very happy. I would have liked to get some stage wins but I think the yellow jersey is more important. I'd like to thank my teammates for their tremendous work and dedication in the race, we were the protagonists on every stage and our strong effort paid off with the overall victory. Today, we made the race very hard right from the start and put Deceuninck-Quickstep in trouble. They stayed with Alvaro in the climb and then had a really hard time getting back. In every climb, we gave it our all and went all-in. We managed to stay in the front, in a group of about 20 riders, and started working with DSM and Bike Exchange to maintain the lead from the peloton. We were successful and made it to the finish. In the finale, I was focused on beating Jannik in the sprint. I took second on the line, so that is a good result. Last but certainly not least, I'd like to thank the race organisers for holding such a great event. The Tour of Slovakia has nothing to envy of other races." – Peter Sagan
"Of course, it was a race that we really wanted to win. It's Peter's home race and we produced a very good result every day. Our guys were always at the front. Yesterday Peter took the yellow jersey with a very good performance. Today, there was a difficult stage and we wanted to make the race difficult from the beginning as we didn't want it to come to a sprint with Hodeg. The team did a good job there. We went on the attack early and invested a lot in this. We were then able to get into a group with four of our guys, which consisted of about 25 riders. At the intermediate sprints, Peter was also able to gain several seconds. The team worked really well and everyone did a perfect job. In the end, we put Peter in a good position for the sprint and he ended up second. Of course, we are very happy with his overall victory. It was a great team performance and a very nice win for us." – Enrico Poitschke, Sports Director