Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk and senior directeur sportif Enrico Poitschke have confirmed that Peter Sagan will miss the cobbled Classics in October and will stick with his original race programme of riding both the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France this season.
Sagan will race the 42 stages of the two Grand Tours in just 58 days due to a rescheduled calendar that sees the Tour de France in September and the Giro d'Italia in October.
Poitschke said Sagan will start racing at Strade Bianche on August 1 and also ride Milan-Torino and then Milan-San Remo on August 8, before riding the Critérium du Dauphiné ahead of the Tour de France.
Bora-Hansgrohe have gathered in the Ötztal Alps in Austria for altitude training for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked the suspension of racing and lockdown across Europe.
In a series of video calls, riders, Denk and Poitschke confirmed their goals for the rescheduled racing. Denk also confirmed that their sponsors had respected their contracts and so all riders and staff have been paid despite the lack of racing.
"We decided that Peter starts in the Giro," Poitschke confirmed.
"We had clear goals of what we hoped to do with our leaders and that hasn’t changed much. We'll do the Tour de France with Emanuel [Buchmann] as captain and our goal is the podium or close to the podium. Peter will also do the Tour de France and try to fight for the green jersey. We will try to win one monument too. The only difference we have is the Classics; it's complicated with the Giro at the same time."
Denk said he wanted to keep his gentleman's agreement with Giro d'Italia organiser RCS Sport.
"I gave my word to the Giro that Peter will participate there and Peter did this as well," Denk said.
"It's part of our style, how we work. It was a handshake agreement but for us that very important and we'll stay to this agreement. That's why Peter will fulfill this agreement and get full support from the team."
Bora-Hansgrohe said that Sagan, Buchmann and Paris-Nice winner Maximilian Schachmann have all been selected for the Tour de France.
The UCI decided to overlap the Giro d'Italia and many of the Classics when it rescheduled the race calendar after the impact of the COVID1-9 meaning that Sagan will miss the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Gent-Wevelgem and other cobbled races for the first time since 2013.
The 2020 Giro is set to now take place from October 3-25, while the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix have been rescheduled for October 18 and October 25, respectively. Sagan won Paris-Roubaix in 2018 and took victory at the Tour of Flanders in 2016 during a decade of targeting the Classics but will not return to the cobbles this year.
In previous years, since 2010, Sagan has tackled May's now-defunct Tour of California on the back of the cobbled Classics and ahead of the Tour de France.
It would be Sagan's first time at the Giro d'Italia, where he'll look to try to win the race's ciclamino points jersey to add to his seven – or what he'll hope by that point is eight – green points jerseys won at the Tour de France.
Denk agreed that the new calendar had not been fair for the Giro d'Italia. Only Tirreno-Adriatico and the Grand Prix de Quebec and Montreal will be on held during the September Tour de France, while the Ardennes and cobbled Classics will be held in October at the same time as the Giro d'Italia.
"This calendar is not so fair to the Giro, to put all the Classics in (during) the Giro," Denk said.
"If it was my decision, there would be more respect for the Giro but we have to manage it. It would be better to race longer into the winter. For example we could have raced the Vuelta a España three weeks later, and make more room for the Classics. As it is now, we have to manage it."
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