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Sagan will skip Liège as his classics season fizzles out

With a more sprinter-friendly finish, Sagan was expected to race Liège, but after two DNF results, he'll take some time to rebuild before Tour of California.

Three-time world champion Peter Sagan’s highly anticipated debut at Liège-Bastogne-Liège has been canceled. The Slovak star confirmed the news Wednesday on his personal website.

Instead, he plans to rest, recover, and prepare for the Amgen Tour of California, which begins May 12.

The news comes on the heels of his second DNF result in as many races. He was dropped from the bunch at Wednesday’s Flèche Wallonne and subsequently abandoned. He also abandoned Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race.

His 2019 spring classics season was winless. The best results on Sagan’s record are fourth at Milano-Sanremo and fifth at Paris-Roubaix, which he won in 2018.

Although he hadn’t been showing his typical imperious strength and speed, the cycling world was still eager to see what he could do at Liège on Sunday.

For the first time in his career, Sagan put the spring’s final monument classic on his calendar. This shift was due to a revised race route that will finish on a flat run-in to Liège, instead of the climb to Ans, which would not ordinarily favor Sagan, compared with someone like world champion Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) or the on-form Julian Alaphilippe, who just won Flèche.

Sagan’s absence will add even more uncertainty to the outcome of Sunday’s race through the Ardennes hills. Alaphilippe appears to be the five-star favorite, but Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky) rode well at Amstel Gold, as did Simon Clarke (EF Education First).