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Gravel

Peter Sagan: ‘I couldn’t miss the chance to race Unbound Gravel’

'I can't wait to be in Emporia for some serious fun with the thousands of other participants,' says three-time world champion.

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Three-time world champion Peter Sagan heads to Emporia, Kansas, this weekend to make his gravel debut at Unbound Gravel and the 32-year-old is eager to gain experience in a discipline he’s only watched from afar during his lengthy road career.

Sagan announced that he would race the 100-miler at Unbound Gravel over the weekend in an Instagram post.

The former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner is currently in the United States as he trains at altitude and builds towards the Tour de France, where he will hunt stage wins and a potentially an eighth green jersey.

“When I was invited by Specialized to take part in the Unbound Gravel together with them, I really didn’t have to think twice,” Sagan said in a message sent to VeloNews on Tuesday morning.

Also read: Peter Sagan retreats to Utah to prepare for Tour de France

Sagan will remain at his altitude base in Park City, Utah, until late on Friday evening, not arriving at Unbound Gravel until the night before the race. That’s in order to maximize his training time but he will no doubt arrive at the race eager to impress and put in a quality performance.

Sagan used to race consistently in North America and racked up 17 stage wins in the Amgen Tour of California before the race was shuttered. He has also won both of the Canadian one-day WorldTour races, and seems eager to get stuck in during Unbound Gravel.

Also read: Life Time reveals Unbound gravel courses

Following a successful junior career in mountain biking and cyclocross, Sagan focused on road-racing, although he rode the mountain bike race at the Rio Olympic games in 2016. He has yet to receive his Specialized Diverge gravel-specific race bike, but is expected to link up with his machine in the next few days.

“Unfortunately, there aren’t many road races here any longer where I can participate, so this is also a chance for me to get to meet again the many fans I have,” Sagan said. “I’m sure I will have a great time and I can’t wait to be in Emporia for some serious fun with the thousands of other participants.

“Although I’m not familiar with gravel racing, it is something that has always intrigued me, and to do it here in the USA and in one of the top events was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.”