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"He can win the race because the terrain doesn't eliminate him as an overall contender. So yes he can, but depending on form, it is an unknown quantity at that time of the year." 

Photo: Sirotti

PETER SAGAN

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TOUR DOWN UNDER

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26.11.2016 @ 13:34 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Tour Down Under chief Mike Turtur has already secured a big coup in getting Peter Sagan to return to his race for the first time since his neo-pro year in 2010, now he believes that the World Champion can win the race.

 

"He can win the race because the terrain doesn't eliminate him as an overall contender," Turtur told Cyclingnews. "So yes he can, but depending on form, like most of the Europeans, it is an unknown quantity at that time of the year. It is one of the aspects of our race that makes it really interesting. No one knows what sort of legs they have. It has always been an interesting position to be in, the first race of the year, but it has always produced a good race for us. Having said that, he can win the race."

 

The summit finishes on Paracombe and Willunga Hill would usually be too hard for Sagan and may yet prove so in January, but his climb on Mt Baldy as he won the Tour of Californa, coupled with lots of bonus seconds for stage wins and intermdiate sprints may pave the way to a second WorldTour GC win after he took out the 2011 Tour de Polgne.

 

With the race being so early in the year, lots of big Classics stars often skip the race, and Sagan will only be the fourth Rainbow jersey to line up at the race.

 

"The honour of hosting the rainbow jersey we have had on three previous occasions from, believe it or not, the inaugural edition with Oscar Camenzind," Turtur said. "Then we had Cadel Evans, Australia's only road race world champion, and then we had Philippe Gilbert with BMC. For a fourth time, we will have Peter Sagan. As race organisers, to host the rainbow jersey is always the big thing in the way it is recognised worldwide through the sport as the iconic jersey that it is. We are really privileged to have it in the race. It is going to be terrific."

 

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