Peter Sagan will race the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, but will skip the majority of the one-day classics this season, he told a press conference on Tuesday.
The Bora-Hansgrohe leader said an eighth green jersey awarded for the best sprinter at the Tour was the key target this season, while respecting a promise to race the Giro just 13 days later was important to him as a man. “Yes, it’s green and pink,” Sagan confirmed when asked if his main season came down to the bold double bid of the Tour and the Giro, where the leader wears the revered pink jersey.
The program means Sagan, known for exceptional endurance, will race a staggering 42 Grand Tour stages in just 58 days after the original cycling calendar was crammed into a few months following the coronavirus lockdown.
“I promised them (the Giro) before the date changed, and I really want to respect that promise,” added the 30-year-old Slovak. The Tour, where Sagan will target a record eighth sprint points title, runs from August 29 to September 20, then embark on his first Giro on October 3.
Sagan’s German team have emerged as a major player in cycling just behind the Belgian Deceuninck-Quick Step team and the Dutch Jumbo-Visma outfit.
At the Tour, Bora will be led by German climber Emanuel Buchmann after his fourth place overall result in the 2019 edition, and will also field this year’s Paris-Nice winner Maximilian Schachmann.
“It’s the Tour then the Giro, if the world championships are in Switzerland in between that will be too hard for me and I’ll skip it.”
Long-haul Milan-San Remo Scheduled
The former three-time world champion said he may change his mind on the world championships if the location of the race is moved away from the mountains, which is a possibility.
“You cannot have everything in this world, sometimes you have to make hard decisions,” Sagan said.
He confirmed his first competitive race would be the Strade Bianche classic in Italy on August 1, and hinted his main one-day racing target would be to win the Milan-San Remo on August 8.
“The Strade, I’m going as part of my preparation, If I can try something I will. I’ll be really ready for Milan.”
Bora team manager Ralph Denk said earlier in the day “We want to win a monument”. There are five monuments, the very strenuous one-day races and Sagan has twice come second at the longest of them, Milan San Remo.
Speaking via a Zoom conference call with lush mountains from Bora’s Austrian training camp in the background Sagan was relaxed and slim. Sagan will skip the Belgian classics that will be held during the Giro, and also the French mud-fest Paris-Roubaix, which Sagan won in 2018 and which takes place on the last day of the Giro.
Often described as nonchalant or carefree, Sagan said it had been strange staying inside after self-quarantining following Paris-Nice in March.
“‘I lost a kilo, look,’ he said patting a flat stomach.”
“We met a lot of people so I had to do the right thing when I got back to Monaco, I didn’t want to infect my ex or my son.
“I didn’t enjoy lockdown, but I haven’t been eating sweets. I’m on a diet,” he joked. “I lost a kilo, look,” he said patting a flat stomach.
He said he had spent time in Monaco playing with his son during lockdown and continued home-training even if he felt low on energy.
“We have all been tested. You know, this nose test,” Sagan said in reference to the notorious deep nose coronavirus swab test. “The whole team tested negative.”
“There’s little risk of the riders (at the Tour) infecting each-other. And it’s sad if the fans aren’t there, but it changes nothing, just that it’s safer as nobody can crash into a fan or have an accident with one,” Sagan said.
Sagan is the highest earning cyclist in the peloton at five million USD(4.44 million euros) per year, topping a recent list in French daily newspaper L’Equipe above Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini