Sagan to recon Rio Olympics course after Tour de San Luis
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) will begin his season at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina and the world champion will take advantage of the trip to South America to reconnoitre the 2016 Olympic Games road race course in Rio de Janeiro before he returns to Europe.
According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, Sagan will ride the circuit, which features over 4,400 metres of vertical climbing, on January 26, two days after the conclusion of the Tour de San Luis, before attending an event organised by Specialized in Sao Paolo on January 27.
The Slovak did not take the trouble to visit Richmond before his World Championships victory, incidentally, reasoning at the time: "The preparation is more important than looking at the course. We’ll ride around it I don’t know how many times in the race anyway, no?"
Sagan will reportedly undertake a stint of altitude training on his return to Europe before resuming competition at 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 is not the only rider to avail of the early-season trek to the Tour de San Luis to check out the Olympics course. Vincenzo Nibali will stop in Rio next week en route to Argentina to reconnoitre the circuit.
Van Avermaet: I don't hate Gilbert
Greg Van Avermaet’s rivalry with teammate Philippe Gilbert has generated plenty of column inches over the years, though their strained rapport has improved somewhat in recent seasons, thanks in part to BMC’s careful division of the spring calendar.
When Van Avermaet left Lotto for BMC at the end of 2010, he complained of a lack of opportunities due to Gilbert’s presence, and the pair’s war of words continued in the Belgian press until Gilbert joined him at BMC two years later.
"Philippe Gilbert is just a colleague. He is not my best friend, but I don’t hate him," Van Avermaet said, according to Sporza. "I have a lot of respect for Gilbert, but at a certain point I felt I was blocked by him at Lotto."
Since 2013, Van Avermaet has led the cobbled classics team at BMC, while Gilbert has been asked to focus exclusively on the Ardennes classics.
"At BMC we were together again, but the beginning Phil was sometimes more of a competitor than a teammate and I had to work hard to stand in the place I am now," Van Avermaet said.
Sella announces his retirement
Emanuele Sella has announced his retirement from professional cycling after failing to find a team for the 2016 season. The 34-year-old Italian spent the last five seasons at the Androni Giocattoli team but was not retained at the end of last season.
"I haven’t found a place so I’m not riding anymore," Sella told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Sella tested positive for EPO-CERA in the summer of 2008 and was stripped of his three stage wins and 6th place overall in that year’s Giro d’Italia. The Vicenza native served a reduced one-year suspension, returning to action with Carmiooro and signing for Androni in 2011.
Sella did not scale the same heights during the second act of his career, with victory at the 2011 Settimana Coppi e Bartali the highlight.
"I’m 34 years old, I’m neither old nor young. Cycling reflects the general situation of the economy and there’s very little in Italy," Sella told Tuttobici as he searched in vain for a team in December. “It’s a pity, but cycling isn’t forever and we all know this well from the beginning."