Peter Sagan has been targeted by an online cryptocurrency scam and has been forced to publicly deny his involvement in the get-rich-quick scheme.
The three-time world champion issued a public statement on Wednesday, providing a link to an article in which he is made to look like he endorses the scheme that can supposedly "make a millionaire out of anyone in 3 to 4 months".
The article claims Sagan appeared on a television show to discuss the benefits of the cryptocurrency trading platform, and then features what it claims to be an 'exclusive' interview with the Bora-Hansgrohe rider.
The article is hosted on a bogus website made to look like a news site, where links take you to a sign-up page for a cryptocurrency platform.
"I categorically deny having any involvement, in any form, in what is mentioned in this article," Sagan said via social media.
"I have never been in contact with any of the persons or companies mentioned and any allegation to the contrary is false."
There have been many scams associated with cryptocurrency in recent years, with $4billion taken by cybercriminals in 2019 alone. A number of the scams involve luring people onto what seem like legitimate trading platforms in order to gain access to their money.
Celebrities have been used to make it look like the product has been endorsed by a popular figure in society, and Sagan is the latest example.
"We are experiencing difficult economic times and this is the solution that people have been waiting for," Sagan is quoted as saying in the article. "We have never had such an amazing opportunity in the history that ordinary people could simply take advantage of the opportunity to earn huge wealth in such a short time."
After issuing his public denial, Sagan could sue for damages if the people behind the scam can be identified.
Sagan made his season debut at the Vuelta a San Juan before heading to Colombia for an high-altitude training camp with several teammates. He will miss Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in Belgium, racing in Europe for the first time at Strade Bianche on Saturday March 7.
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