Following his successful spring Classics campaign and before he heads to the Tour of California, Peter Sagan will swap his road bike for a mountain bike and compete in two events in Austria and the Czech Republic, his Tinkoff team has confirmed.
Sagan was a successful mountain bike racer as a teenager, winning the 2008 World Junior mountain bike title in the Italian Val di Sole. That same year he also finished second in the Junior cyclo-cross World Championships in Treviso, and second the Junior version of Paris-Roubaix. He uses his bike skills in races like the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and to celebrate success in races by pulling wheelies. His bike skills helped him avoid crashing with Fabian Cancellara during Paris-Roubaix, as he bunny-hopped over the Swiss rider’s bike on the cobbles and stayed up despite riding at speed.
“It’s going to be good fun returning to my roots, racing mountain bikes again and I look forward to seeing what shape I will be in at those races,” Sagan when the news was announced by the Tinkoff team.
“I’m pleased with how my season has gone so far. My victories at Gent-Wevelgem and Ronde van Vlaanderen take the pressure off now, so I hope that I can go off-road and be able to compete at the front, like I do on the road. I'd like to thank the team and our sponsors for helping me make this opportunity possible.”
Sagan will race in the flourescent yellow Tinkoff colours and not in the road race world champion’s rainbow jersey he usually wears. He has the support of several of his technical sponsors and will use a Specialized S-Works Epic bike for the mountain bike races.
"Peter has shown this spring what a star he is on the road and with the public, so to have this opportunity to take this to mountain bike fans too will be really nice," commented Stefano Feltrin, General Manager of Tinkoff.
"It’s a good opportunity for Tinkoff to race its colours and showcase its partners in another discipline and we have every confidence in Peter that he will take the racing seriously and perform to his best, even if these races are just part of his build to the all-important goals for the rest of the season."