Sagan previews Rio Olympics road race course

Tinkoff leader divides his 2016 season into three parts

After finishing the recent Tour de San Luis, world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) travelled to Brazil where he previewed the Rio Olympics road race course on Tuesday.

Sagan, who also celebrated his birthday, did several laps of the hilly course with Tinkoff teammates Maciej Bodnar, Pawel Poljanski and guests from bike sponsor Specialized. He has so far played down his chances of winning Olympic gold, aware that the course may better suit the Grand Tour climbers and hilly classics riders like Alejandro Valverde of Spain. If Sagan does ride, he will be Slovakia’s sole participant after the UCI confirmed the athlete quotes for the road race and time trial.

"2016 is not only about the Olympic Games for me because I have three parts of the season: The Classics, the Tour de France and if I'm good I will see about Rio, and then the World Championships," he explained recently.

Sagan finished second on stage 1 the Tour de San Luis and was fourth on the final stage on Sunday, testing his sprinting skills against likes of Elia Viviani and young Italian Jakub Mareczko. Despite joking about yet another second place via Twitter, Sagan was satisfied with his race.

"We would have liked to end with a win but I'm afraid that was not possible. Anyway the final outcome of this Tour de San Luis is good. I am satisfied with how the week went in view of the upcoming big goals of the season," he said.

On returning to Europe, Sagan will reportedly undertake a stint of altitude training and not compete again before Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne on February 27 and 28 - his first appearance at Belgium’s Opening Weekend since his debut season in 2010.

Sagan was often the centre of attention at the Tour de San Luis, even because of his decision to turn against cycling tradition and not shave his legs. Speaking to Belgian television channel Sporza, he confirmed the cobbled Classics will be his first goal of the 2016 season.

"The Classics are the big goals for me. Flanders, Milan-San Remo and Roubaix. These three are my goals," he said, again shrugging off any suggestions of pressure to win. "We’ll see if I can win one. I’ve been racing for seven seasons but for now I’ve never won, even if very many people want me to. I’m still trying but it's been hard for six years."

Asked how he would be happy with his season, Sagan’s answer was simple, highlighting his approach to life, despite the pressure and responsibility of being world champion.

"If I can do my best," he said. "Because I live for the moment."

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