Peter Sagan eyes Classics, Giro, Tour, Olympics, Worlds in packed 2021
Bora-Hansgrohe sprinter 'is a fighter and can still claim victories'
Peter Sagan is set to return to the Classics in 2021, as well as riding both the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France in a packed season that also features the Olympic Games and World Championships as targets.
Sagan's 2021 schedule will therefore look a lot like his original 2020 campaign, before the coronavirus pandemic threw everything off track. He opted to stick to his promise to ride the Giro, meaning he had to miss the spring Classics that were rescheduled for the autumn.
In an interview with Slovakian newspaper Pravda (opens in new tab), Bora-Hansgrohe director Jan Valach outlined the three-time world champion's 2021 plans.
"We start with the spring classics, followed by the Giro, the Tour, the Olympics… These are the highlights," he said.
Although this year's major events, as things stand, are set to go ahead as planned, Sagan has already had to alter his plans, after coronavirus restrictions meant foreign teams weren't allowed to the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.
It is unclear where Sagan will make his first appearance, given he is a stranger to the early-season European stage races. He hasn't ridden the 'Opening Weekend' of the Classics in Belgium since 2017 but could ride Strade Bianche in early March before riding Tirreno-Adriatico as preparation for the main Classics period, starting with Milan-San Remo on March 20, followed by the cobbled Classics through to Paris-Roubaix on April 11.
Whatever he chooses, he will have to carefully plan his preparation, given the Giro starts on May 8. There are just under four weeks between the Giro and Tour, while the Olympic road race on the hilly Tokyo course is less than a week after the Tour's final stage in Paris.
"Peter is the type of rider who can withstand more load, benefit from it, it doesn't tire him and he gets better and better," said Valach, who also insisted they weren't concerned about the rumoured quarantine requirements for riders arriving in Tokyo.
If he has anything left in the tank, Sagan will then re-set and set his sights on a fourth rainbow jersey, with the Worlds taking place in Flanders on September 26. The route should suit the cobbles specialists and, despite missing those races last year, they are set to be central to Sagan's ambitions in the next couple of years.
"I see the space especially in the Classics. We talked about it several times. He is the ideal age for them," Valach told Pravda.
"Peter still has a high performance and if we take into account the necessary experience, he can apply in them, he can be successful maybe even in his 40s. This will be his main platform in the coming seasons. We are working on it in the future, and I am also very much looking forward to it."
Sagan endured a long barren spell in 2020, and missed out on the points jerseys at both the Tour and Giro, but ended up dismissing any talk of a decline in his career with a scintillating solo stage win at the Giro.
"Of course, it will be important how he retains his mental energy, or whether he enjoys it anyway," added Valach. "He is a fighter and can still claim victories, especially in the classic stages, but also in the sprint stages, if the situation is optimal in the end."
Sagan is currently training with his Bora-Hangrohe teammates at Lake Garda, and afterwards will travel to a smaller training camp in the Canary Islands.
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