The world champion has used a Specialized disc brake bike in training several times so far this season but has always switched to rim brakes for races. He is not against disc brakes per se and understands the advantages, having used them in mountain bike races, but would simply like to see all of the peloton use the same system for matters of fairness.

When asked by Cyclingnews if he will use disc brakes in Strade Bianche, he said: “I don’t think I’ll use them…”

When asked to explain why, he added: “There’s a reason. I agree with using disc brakes if everyone in the peloton uses them – not only a few people.”

Asked if it was for safety reasons, he said: “No, not for safety. Safety left cycling a while ago…”

Sagan later confirmed to Cyclingnews that the risk of losing time – and perhaps a race – due to a slow wheel or bike change was his biggest concern.

 

‘I’m here to win – why am I here otherwise?’

Sagan makes no effort to hide his disdain for pre-race press conferences, but he joined women’s world champion Amalie Dideriksen in the Strade Bianche press conference in Siena on Friday, and fielded the vast majority of the media’s questions.

He was patient as the local dignitaries gave their speeches and only once seemed bored, briefly resting his head on the microphone.

Sagan has ridden Strade Bianche several times and finished second twice. He recalled his debut in 2012 when he was part of the Liquigas team. He finished 26th, more than seven minutes down on winner Fabian Cancellara.

“I rode a lot of Italian races and it was part of my schedule before Tirreno-Adriatico. I crashed after 50 or 60km. Then I had a flat tyre on the Monte Saint Marie section and my race was over. I have nice memories of it though,” he said.

Sagan finished second in 2013, behind then-teammate Moreno Moser. Since then he has developed into one of the best Classics riders and sprinters in the peloton.

When asked if he can win this year, his reply was blunt: “I’m here to win – why am I here otherwise? I can’t say that I won’t come next year if I don’t win. I’ll come because I like it.

“Every race is different; nobody knows how I’ll go tomorrow. For sure someone will win.”

Sagan dismissed the idea that the roads of Strade Bianche and his excellent bike handling skills could make a difference. He also shrugged off reports that it could rain.

“If you’re riding well, you can win in cycling, but the best doesn’t always win. It’s the same tomorrow,” he said.

“If it rains, it rains for everyone. I don’t know if that changes things. It could be more dangerous; the group could split. I’ve never raced Strade Bianche in the rain. It will change things for sure.”