Peter Sagan will lead Tinkoff at this weekend’s Belgian double-header of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. The reigning World Champion is making his return to the races after last competing in them back in 2010.
Sagan hasn’t raced since the Tour de San Luis at the end of January and has spent much of the last month training in Spain. “I am curious to see how my first two starts in Europe will be. The race in San Luis was held a month ago, so it has been a long time. I prepared diligently; I spent a lot of time at the training camp in the Sierra Nevada and I know I'm doing well. I am interested in seeing how strong my opponents are,” said Sagan.
"These races in Belgium are set to kick off the final phases of my preparation for the spring monuments, which, yet again, will be a great challenge to me. Both races are quite long and difficult and they nearly always indicate who will succeed in the spring part of the season. It will be the first test and I expect a sharp confrontation with the best riders.”
This spring Sagan will be looking for both his first win in the rainbow jersey and his first monument victory. He had a solid, if uneventful, start to the year in San Luis with a second place and two fourths.
In both events, Sagan will have the support of experienced campaigners Manuele Baoro and Daniele Bennati, who recently won the opening stage to the Ruta del Sol. Also joining him will be another Ruta del Sol stage winner in Oscar Gatto, and new signing Adam Blythe.
"Peter Sagan will, obviously, be our leader," said directeur sportif Lars Michaelsen. "However, he comes from a high-altitude camp, and his last race was a month ago in Argentina, so we will need to keep him fresh and safe. I feel convinced that the rest of the squad will rise to the challenge and work hard to support him."
Tinkoff team for Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne: Peter Sagan, Maciej Bodnar, Daniele Bennati, Oscar Gatto, Jay McCarthy, Manuele Boaro, Nikolay Trusov and Adam Blythe.