Three-time world champion Peter Sagan has said that he has new motivation for the season ahead, insisting he is "still young" and still has a point to prove.
The Slovakian will turn 32 in January, at which point he will be riding for TotalEnergies in what is a major career move this winter.
He's leaving Bora-Hansgrohe after five years for what he describes as an 'adventure' at the second-division French squad, but his ambition still burns bright.
"I want to show some things still," Sagan told Cyclingnews at the Giro d'Italia Criterium in Dubai.
"I start with cycling, and I'm good at this, and I have time. When I decide I want to stop, I want to stop and never come back. But I'm still going. I am still young, right?"
Sagan's time at Bora-Hansgrohe saw him win two points jerseys at the Tour de France, the third of his World Championship road races, and Paris-Roubaix. This season he won five races, including a stage of the Giro d’Italia, where he also collected the points jersey.
This was despite a coronavirus diagnosis that delayed the start of his season, and a knee injury which forced him to abandon the Tour de France on stage 3. Team TotalEnergies, meanwhile, recorded just six wins this year, and none at WorldTour level.
Sagan has faith that the team would be competitive next year, and would challenge in the upcoming Classics season.
"Definitely," he said in Dubai. "TotalEnergies has a lot of strong riders and experience for a long time. They are a Pro Conti team for more than 30 years.
"I was already visiting for a medical check and I went to the service course and I was very surprised with how they are organised and how they are working, how the base of the team is. It's very beautiful."
Joining Sagan at the French squad for next year are his currents teammates Daniel Oss and Maciej Bodnar, as well as other members of his entourage. However, it's still a significant change of environment.
"For sure I have new motivation, because we are changing group, a group of people. Some people are coming with me, and it's definitely going to be a new environment," Sagan said.
"A lot of new people, and a different mentality. We will see after our first training camp and how our season is going to start. I'm definitely looking forward to it, it's going to be a nice adventure."
The Slovakian said that he would probably begin his season in Argentina at the Vuelta a San Juan, although that was yet to be fully decided by the team.
On other goals for 2022, he said: "From the start of next season I want to prepare well for the Classics and, being in a new French team, the Tour de France is going to be a priority. Naturally we will see for the World Championships, too."
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Adam Becket is the staff writer for Procycling magazine. Prior to covering the sport of cycling, he wrote about ecclesiastical matters for the Church Times and politics for Business Insider. He has degrees in history and journalism. A keen cyclist himself, Adam’s favourite race is the Tour of Flanders or Strade Bianche, and he can't wait to go to the Piazza del Campo for the end of the race one day.
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