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Sagan opts out of Tour of Flanders after struggling in Gent-Wevelgem

Peter Sagan at the TotalEnergies car during Gent-Wevelgem
Peter Sagan at the TotalEnergies car during Gent-Wevelgem (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Peter Sagan (TotalEnergies) has opted not to ride Sunday’s Tour of Flanders and will undergo a series of tests to understand why he is struggling to be competitive in the Spring Classics.

Sagan will ride next week’s four-day Circuit Cycliste Sarthe - Pays de la Loire (April 5-8) in central France in the hope the daily racing can help him overcome his problems before the Amstel Gold Race and then Paris-Roubaix.

Sagan has already returned to his home in Monaco, where he will undergo blood tests and a check-up, because he had not planned to ride Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen. The tests will help clarify if Sagan’s problems are linked to a lack of pre-season training, a specific illness or even the consequences of his second bout of COVID-19.

Sagan came down with COVID-19 a second time in January and missed a key block of pre-season training. However, he appeared to be building form in recent weeks, despite a stomach problem forcing him out of Tirreno-Adriatico the day after he finished fourth in the sprint in Sovicille. He finished fifth in Milano-Torino but a mechanical problem wrecked his chances at Milan-San Remo.

He was only 68th at E3 Saxo Bank Classic and failed to finish Gent-Wevelgem. He had been optimistic of playing a role in both races. However, despite not being sick, he lacked the power and energy in the decisive moments of the race.

According to L’Equipe, who first reported Sagan’s decision to miss the Tour of Flanders, he will be replaced by Geoffrey Soupe, a loyal teammate of team leader Anthony Turgis, who finished second at Milan-San Remo and 13th at the E3 Saxo Bank Classic on Friday.

Speaking to Het Laatste Nieuws (opens in new tab) last week, Sagan accepted that the pressure to win is greater than when he started out his career with Liquigas back in 2010 but he claimed he is immune to pressure from outsiders.

"The pressure is greater. There is a need to win," he said.

"Nobody can pressure me, only me. Another person can only tell me some facts, say what he thinks or what he wants. I have grown above the pressures, I have had them enough."

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Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and Cycling Weekly, among other publications.