Cycling superstar Peter Sagan plans to race the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia this season, but plans to skip most of the one-day classics, he told a news conference on Tuesday.
The Team Bora-Hansgrohe leader said that an eighth green jersey awarded for being the best sprinter at the Tour is this season’s main target, while respecting a promise to race the Giro just 13 days later is important to him as a person.
“Yes, it’s green and pink,” Sagan confirmed when asked if his main season came down to the double bid of the Tour and the Giro, where the leader wears the revered pink jersey.
The program means that Sagan, known for exceptional endurance, would race a staggering 42 Grand Tour stages in just 58 days, as the original cycling calendar has been 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,” the 30-year-old said.
The Tour, where Sagan plans to target a record eighth title for the most sprint points, runs from Aug. 29 to Sept. 20. Then, Sagan would embark on the first stage of the Giro on Oct. 3.
Sagan’s German team have emerged as a major player in cycling, just behind Britain’s Team Ineos and the Netherland’s Team Jumbo-Visma.
At the Tour, Bora-Hansgrohe would be led by German climber Emanuel Buchmann, after his fourth place overall result in last year’s edition, and would 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,” Sagan said.
The former three-time world champion said he might 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,” Sagan added. “Sometimes you have to make hard decisions.”
He confirmed that his first competitive race would be the Strade Bianche classic in Italy on Aug. 1, saying that his main one-day racing target would be to win the Milan-San Remo on Aug. 8.
“The Strade, I’m going as part of my preparation,” he said. “If I can try something, I will. I’ll be really ready for Milan.”
Bora-Hansgrohe team manager Ralph Denk earlier in the day said: “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, the Milan-San Remo.
Sagan said that he would skip the Belgian classics that are to be held during the Giro, and also the Paris-Roubaix, which Sagan won in 2018, but which takes place on the last day of the Giro.
“There’s little risk of the riders [at the Tour] infecting each other,” Sagan said. “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 is the highest earning cyclist in the peloton at US$5 million per year, topping a recent list in L’Equipe, above Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
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