April 10, 2013 – Peter Sagan returned to racing with a spectacular show in Belgium today, at the Brabante Pijl. The Slovak champion of Cannondale Pro Cycling claimed his eighth win of the season with his sprint victory over Gilbert and Leukemans. Sagan again showed evidence of his tenacity and incredible power as he took control of the finale: first by closing on the late attacks, then chasing down the World Champion and winning the sprint finish.
“The finale was the most difficult part of the race,” explained Sagan. “I was in a minority situation, first of all compared to Omega-QuickStep and BMC, and all the riders left me the responsibility to bring back the attacks. I found a good chance on the last climb and let it rip to close the gap on Van Avermaet and to leave behind as many riders as possible. It was a big effort. In the final straight we were against the wind and Gilbert was just behind me. I was thinking about a short sprint but his attack anticipated my plan. At that point I had only to follow him and try to pass: I’m really happy to have done it.”
The Brabante Pijl was the first race for Sagan after the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and an important step ahead of the next Classic, the Amstel Gold Race. “Since the beginning of the season the ‘Amstel’ is one of my targets. I didn’t race Paris-Roubaix to be at the top condition for the Amstel. Today’s win is an important signal for me. I look forward to a close challenge on Sunday,” added the Slovak champion.
Today’s win is the tenth in 2013 for Cannondale Pro Cycling and also the third of the Northern Campaign. The same Green Team from today will race again tomorrow in France at the Grand Prix de Denain.