FLORENCE (VN) — Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), booted from the 2017 Tour de France for irregular sprinting in stage 4, is building toward returning to next month’s race.
After training and racing in the United States — in the Amgen Tour of California and altitude training in Park City, Utah — Sagan will return to action at the Tour de Suisse in June. He is looking for his first win since Paris-Roubaix and a dry spell in California.
“I look forward to racing again,” Sagan wrote in an Instagram post.
“There will be a lot of strong opponents, so I don’t know whether I will be able to extend my record of stage wins.”
Sagan has won a massive 15 stages in the Tour de Suisse, a record that surpasses local heroes Ferdinand Kübler, Hugo Koblet, and Fabian Cancellara with 11.
The race runs June 9-17, and will have three or four chances for the world champion to shine in his rainbow jersey. He will face Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates), and Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors).
Earlier in May, Gaviria prevented Sagan from adding to his record number of 16 wins in the Tour of California. For the first time since he turned professional in 2010, Sagan left the Golden State without raising his arms in victory.
Sagan is facing a fight to prove himself again in the Tour de France. He left after only four days and one win last summer. The jury disqualified the Slovakian in the sprint for bumping with Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data).
It is nothing new for the rock star of cycling. This spring, he fought to justify the status, the attention, and the salary. He blasted away from his rivals with 55 kilometers to race in Paris-Roubaix and won in the velodrome just when critics were starting to wonder when he would win another monument. It had been two years since his 2016 Tour of Flanders victory.
Even with his shape as good or better than before, his coach and Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Patxi Vila said this spring that things are harder for Sagan now.
“But year by year, it’s harder for him to win. It’s harder to win with three world titles than with two, or with two than one,” Vila explained.
“He’s building up a nice palmarès. He’s probably the rider of his generation, but that means everything is hard for him.”
The Tour de Suisse is next, with more stage wins and a sixth green jersey the plan in Tour de France.