Road world champion Peter Sagan will line up for the mountain bike event at the Olympic Games in Rio, confirmed through a Tinkoff press release Thursday. The men's cross-country event will be held on a man-made course constructed at the Deodoro Olympic Park on Sunday, August 21.
"I'm proud to be able to race the most important mountain bike race in the calendar at the biggest sports event in the world. It's nice for me to return to my roots, representing my Slovakia. It is always an honour for every athlete to represent their home country in the Olympics."
Sagan, a former junior world mountain bike champion, has competed in three cross-country mountain bike races this season in Austria and the Czech Republic in April, which were between the Spring Classics and the Tour of California.
He qualified to race in Rio as Slovakia's sole place in the 50-rider field. Sagan is now in Brazil with the Slovakian national team.
He last competed at the Tour de France in July where he secured his fifth consecutive green points jersey. He also won three stages: stage 2 in Cherbourg, stage 11 in Montpellier and stage 16 in Bern.
He thanked Tinkoff's owner Oleg Tinkov, along with team manager Stefano Feltrin and his teammates for their support during the Tour de France, whereby his results have given him confidence heading into the Games.
"After three stage wins and the green jersey, plus the mountains jersey for Rafal Majka, I can head to Rio confident in my shape. It will not be easy but I'm ready for the challenge," Sagan said.
Feltrin said he was pleased to see Sagan representing Slovakia at the Olympic Games in the mountain bike event.
"It's an honour for us to have the world's number one rider on the road representing his country at the Olympics – despite swapping his Tinkoff world champion's stripes for the Slovakian national colours, we can take pleasure from watching Peter race in Rio and wish him the best of luck."