Peter Sagan (Cannondale) and Nacer Bouhanni (FDJ.fr) have abandoned the Vuelta a Espana as the race heads into the decisive mountain stages in the Asturias region of northern Spain. Both riders are set to ride the World Championships in Ponferrada later this month and have opted to recover and train rather than suffer in the mountains.
“Im sorry to withdraw from #LaVuelta.It was a pleasure to ride this race.But I don't feel the best & need to be in shape before #worldchamps,” Sagan tweeted on Saturday after quitting the race.
Sagan, who will ride for Tinkoff-Saxo in 2015, has not performed up to expectations in the Vuelta. His only top ten finishes have been third in stage eight and fourth in stage 12. He had not raced since the Tour de France in July, where he won a third consecutive green points jersey. Sagan seems ideally suited to the Ponferrada world championship course but will have only two Slovakian teammates to help him during the race due to the UCI rules on team sizes.
Bouhanni abandoned the Vuelta with little explanation but suffered minor injuries in a stage 12 crash that took him out of the sprint finish won by John Degenkolb (Giant-Shimano).
The sprinter, who will join Cofidis in the coming year, is on the short list for the French Worlds squad. Unlike Sagan, he has had a successful Vuelta, winning two stages. The mass sprint wins in the second and eighth stage were not unexpected, as compared to his fifth place finish in the difficult 13th stage.He also finished second in the sprint on the fifth stage, unsuccessfully protesting that winner John Degenkolb had diverted from his line.