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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Peter Sagan “is not sick” but is instead on track for an unprecedented third consecutive world championship title in Bergen, Norway this Sunday.
The Slovakian cyclist of team Bora-Hansgrohe, the road world champion in 2015 and 2016, returned to Europe from the two Canadian one-day races in Quebec and Montreal. He won the GP Quebec and finished ninth in Montreal two days later.
“He had some throat pain coming back from Canada, but nothing more that,” Sagan’s coach Patxi Vila told VeloNews. “I wouldn’t even say he was sick, he was training as normal. [related title=”More news from road worlds” align=”right” tag=”Norway-UCI-World-Road-Championships-2017″]
“It was spun out of control and perhaps the wrong message got out there. It’s Peter, people want to know. Everything is going well, though.
“He’s back in Europe. Yesterday he trained well and he’s finishing his last big block before Sunday.”
The Bora-Hansgrohe team told Norwegian media that it rested Sagan instead of fielding him in the team time trial last Sunday. However, Vila explained that there was no concern and Sagan is on track for a third title.
“He’s in the same form as the last two years for the worlds, his shape is very similar to the last few years,” Vila said. “The results in Quebec and Montreal were similar to the last years. We have done the same lead-up with races and training, so we should expect the same.”
Sagan won his first title in Richmond, Virginia in 2015 and defended it in Doha, Qatar last year. If he wins on Sunday, he would be the first cyclist to earn three road race titles in a row.
“It wasn’t before, but now the worlds is the most important race of the year for Peter. He doesn’t think about going for the third title, he’s just going for the win. He’s focused and super motivated. I can tell that he’s relaxed.”
Sagan must form alliances with rivals, given that Slovakia is too small to control the race.
“That’s always a main thing. It’s not like Belgium, or the other strong nations. You have to find teams with the same goal and try to work together,” Vila added.
“If the weather stays the same, rainy but not too cold, then it’s perfect. In those conditions over 260 kilometers, the toughest rise to the top. The pace is high from the beginning and it’s a long race, people just get dropped from behind and Peter excels.”
Sagan will arrive Thursday to the former Viking port city, where he will find his top rivals: Belgian Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing), Pole Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), and Australian Michael Matthews (Sunweb).