Sagan returns to road racing at Sunday's GP Plouay
World champion to ride in Canada before defending his rainbow jersey
Peter Sagan will be back in action on the road on Sunday after his hiatus to ride the mountain bike event at the Rio Olympics, competing at the Gran Prix Plouay with his Tinkoff team.
Cyclingnews understands that the French WorldTour race marks the start of Sagan’s build-up to the World Road Championships in Qatar, where he will try to defend the rainbow jersey he won in Richmond last year.
In early September Sagan will travel to Canada for the Gran Prix Cycliste de Quebec (Friday September 9) and then Gran Prix Cycliste de Montreal (Sunday September 11). Sagan is also expected to ride the Eneco Tour stage race in Belgium and the Netherlands (September 19-25) and possibly several other one-day races before heading to Qatar in early October.
Following a short break in Europe, Sagan headed to Utah to prepare for the mountain bike race at altitude, dominating a local race as he trained on the dirt. When the official transfer window opened on August 1, the Bora-Hansgrohe team moved quickly to confirm it had signed Sagan for 2017. He is reported to earn close to six million Euro for each of the next three years after bike sponsor Specialized agreed to cover a major chunk of his contract.
Sagan played down his chances for Rio, with his ranking meaning that he started at the very back of the grid in Sunday’s mountain bike race. However, he managed to move up to third with a strong surge but his chances disappeared after two punctures. He finished 35th after being lapped by eventual gold medal winner Nino Schurter of Switzerland.
"In the start I felt great and was in the top three. But then I had a puncture and I had to go for half a lap before I could get a wheel change. Then it was impossible to make contact with the first guys," Sagan said according to Reuters.
Sagan said he had no regrets about racing the mountain bike event despite his disappointing result.
"After seven years, I am back on the mountain bike, and I was happy to try," he said.
Reports in Slovakia quoted Sagan as saying he was 'bored' with road racing and struggled to have fun in road races. Several other media across Europe picked up on his comments but Sagan's entourage suggested that his comments from the pre-race Olympic press conference had been taken out of context and then poorly translated.
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