Peter Sagan fell victim to the Hell of the North on Sunday.
The Slovakian World Champion worked himself into a great position in the Paris Roubaix one-day Classic, forcing the high pace and making an aggressive break to try and split the leading pack. But he didn’t get the reward he deserved, suffering a second puncture of the day at a crucial moment to lose valuable time on the leaders.
The 27-year-old did manage to haul himself back into the chasing group, but he was never able to threaten the leaders and was left to rue what was a brutal day in northern France.
“I’d spent a lot of energy to go on the attack, because it’s not easy for me to get away when they see me move,” a disappointed Sagan said. “I managed to do it twice but I was slowed by punctures.
“It was a bit of an unlucky day for me but then I ran out of energy to be up front in the action.”
The spring season hasn’t exactly gone to plan for the man regarded by many as the most talented road cyclist in the world. But Sagan was quick to point out that bad luck was only responsible for this latest missed opportunity, not all of them.
“An unlucky campaign? I lost Milan-San Remo. At the Tour of Flanders I made a mistake, and then today I was unlucky.”
But if we’ve learned anything about Sagan over the years it’s that he won’t be off the top of the podium for long.
Chapeau, Peter. Chapeau.