Peter Sagan was forced to pull out of the men's road race at the European Championships held on Sunday, August 12 in Glasgow. The world champion was hunting his second title, after winning the race two years ago, but told the press ahead of the race that he was feeling ill and then later said that he was still suffering from his injuries sustained in a crash at the Tour de France.
"I was not in good shape and I still have a lot of pain from the crash at the Tour de France," said Sagan, who crashed on a descent during stage 17 of the French Grand Tour.
"It was a very technical circuit [in Glasgow], and it was hard, and in the end, well, I still have a lot of pain in my back and my hip. I think I need more time to recover from that crash."
Sagan started the race as a favourite for the sprinter-friendly event. The men competed 16 laps of an undulating 14.4-kilometre-long circuit, for a total of 230.4km. "The course was OK, it was wet roads and a very technical circuit, but if you have no legs, for that circuit, than you need to be in good shape."
In Glasgow, Sagan was up against other favourites; Kristoff, Greg Van Avermaet, Elia Viviani and John Degenkolb, all racing for their respective national teams.
Sagan was caught out behind a split in the field as Belgium accelerated over a rise. Norway set a quick pace to protect their defending champion Alexander Kristoff, however, Sagan eased up and then subsequently pulled out of the race with 86km, six laps to the finish. He had also suffered a flat tire earlier in the race but was able to get back on.
Racing for his Slovakian national team, Sagan was aiming to secure the special title this year to add to his current world champion's jersey and the green jersey he recently won at the Tour de France.
He hasn't worn a trade team jersey in a road race since June 2011, having worn either a Slovakian national champion's jersey or a world champion's jersey for the past seven years. A European champion's jersey would have been a welcome prize for him, especially since he may not be a favourite to defend his Worlds title on a mountainous course in Innsbruck, Austria, in late September.
Sagan said that he will next race at EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg and then the Vuelta a España before the World Championships. "I still have some races left; I have Hamburg and the Vuelta, and we will see. I will try to fight for my best at the end of the season."
If you've ever wanted to know what it feels like to be part of a top-level cycling team, and to be on the ground, inside the barriers, at the Tour de France, then RUNNING WITH WOLVES will take you there. It is available to rent for $3.99 USD or buy for $6.99 USD.