Peter Sagan will miss the Vuelta a España as he prepares for the World Championships in Yorkshire, where he is bidding to win a record fourth rainbow jersey. The Slovakian will instead ride five one-day races over the coming weeks, though he is an absentee from this week’s European Championships in Alkmaar.
Slovak national coach and Bora-Hansgrohe directeur sportif Jan Valach told Pravda.sk that Sagan’s first race after the Tour de France will come at the EuroEyes Cyclassics Hamburg on August 25.
He will then travel to Canada in mid-September for the Grand Prix de Québec and Grand Prix de Montréal, before riding the Primus Classic and Gooikse Pijl in Belgium on the weekend preceding the Worlds road race.
"After the Tour de France, Peter took part in a major promotional and exhibition cycling event in Panama," Valach told Pravda, when asked about Sagan’s absence from the European Championships, a title he won in 2016. “In these days, he has a slightly more relaxed programme and then he will focus mainly on preparing for the last peak of the season, which will be the World Championships."
Sagan followed a different race programme in the build-up to each of his three Worlds victories. In 2015, he rode the first eight stages of the Vuelta a España before abandoning after being hit by a neutral service motorbike. A year later, Sagan rode the mountain bike event at the Rio 2016 Olympics and lined out at the Eneco Tour, which took place in a later September date, before winning the Worlds in Doha.
After being excluded from the Tour de France during the opening week in 2017, Sagan returned to action at the Tour de Pologne and then rode the BinckBank Tour and the Canadian WorldTour races before completing a hat-trick of world titles in Bergen.
Twelve months ago, Sagan rode the entire Vuelta in preparation for the Innsbruck Worlds, but he abandoned early on the demanding course in Austria. The Yorkshire course appears to be rather better tailored to Sagan’s talents, and he will line out among the top echelon of favourites for the race.
Sagan secured a record seventh green jersey at the Tour last month, helping himself to stage victory in Colmar along the way. Valach refused to be drawn on whether Sagan would seek new challenges outside of the Tour rather than try to add to more green jerseys to his palmarès.
"That’s not the topic of the day, we haven’t discussed it. Peter had enough after the Tour, and he needed some rest. What will happen next year, we will think about maybe in two months," said Valach, adding: "But when he gets back to the start of the Tour, he will certainly want to be successful again."
Sagan has raced the Tour of California in each of his 10 seasons as a professional but Giro d’Italia director Mauro Vegni has often spoken of his desire to see him make his debut at the corsa rosa.
"Maybe he will try the Giro once, why not? But whether it will be next year, I do not know," Valach said. "It is certain that he would then have to adapt his programme, which has been very similar in recent years. However, I wouldn’t see a problem in that. Peter has proved many times that he can prepare well for his peaks of the season."