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Peter Sagan eyes Canadian success to stoke worlds fire

A tan, rested, and fit-looking Sagan is hoping to post some big rides on Québec on Friday and Montreal on Sunday.

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QUEBEC, Canada (VN) — Peter Sagan loves autumn, especially world championship season. And now he’s using the pair of one-day races in Canada to stoke his rainbow jersey ambitions.

A tan, rested, and fit-looking Sagan is hoping to bounce out of Canada with some big rides this weekend at Québec on Friday and Montreal on Sunday.

“We are racing on a circuit here, and it’s different than the classics, and it’s more like the world championships when we are on the same circuit,” Sagan said. “It’s nice to be here and we are motivated for a big race.”

Sagan knows these races well, winning Québec in 2016 and 2017, as well as winning in Montréal in 2013.

“You have to be in the front and be there at the right moment. These races are not easy,” Sagan said. “We have to see how the race will be, but it will be about the right moment to be at the front, and that is at the end of the race.”

Sagan flew into Canada this week after another stint at Utah at altitude, where he spent much of his 2022 season to take advantage of the good weather and mountains to prepare for his major dates.

Sagan on Canada: ‘It’s good preparation for the worlds’

Peter Sagan is hopeful ahead of Québec on Friday, a race he’s twice won. (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)

Though he didn’t win a stage at the Tour de France this year, Sagan won a stage at the Tour de Suisse as well as the Slovakian national road title in June.

“I had some complications with COVID, and now I am healthy. I finished the Tour with a few fourth places,” Sagan said. “Maybe it was not the best, but it was not the worst season, either.

“I am happy to be back here after the race was canceled,” he said. “These are very nice races. Even if it’s shorter than the worlds, we can use the experience to be ready for the worlds. It’s good preparation for the worlds.”

Pre-race favorites for this weekend include Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Michael Matthews (BikeExchange-Jayco) in what’s a deep field packed with marquee riders.

“We will see how I am going. There are other guys who are very strong,” Sagan said. “The race is always different. If I am in the front, I will do my best to try to win.”

For the past few years, winners here in Canada do well in the world championships. Sagan owns three rainbow jerseys, and one more would make it an even number.