Peter Sagan retreats to Utah to recover from ‘long COVID’ ahead of Tour de France
Sagan set to race Tour de Suisse after what coach says was a 're-set mentally and physically' in wake of string of setbacks and poor performances.
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Peter Sagan is hiding out in Utah in a race against time to rediscover his winning legs in time for a run at the Tour de France.
The Slovakian superstar is training at the sunny heights of the Utah mountains to try to finally shake off a string of health problems that’s plagued the three-time world champion over the past two seasons.
Speaking to Het Laatste Nieuws, Sagan’s coach Jens Van Beylen said the TotalEnergies star was mired in pain and discomfort which he categorized as “long” COVID.
“We did a whole series of tests. We could not find a specific cause for his problems,” Van Beylen told Het Laatste Nieuws.
“Peter felt tired, he had pain in his legs, after training and after the races. He had never felt that,” he said. “We decided that Peter was still feeling the aftermath of a coronavirus infection in late December, early January. Call it a post-corona syndrome.”
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The hope and ambition is to be back in pre-COVID Sagan form in time for a return at the Tour and his winning ways.
Sagan continues to struggled with a series of health issues and setbacks that date back to 2020. In the first COVID season, he won only once with a stage at the postponed Giro d’Italia.
Last year, he won five times, but was stricken with COVID over the winter.
That’s hampered his performances so far in 2022 and his high-profile move to TotalEnergies. So far he’s winless and abandoned the Circuit de la Sarthe in April, and did not race Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix.
I’m a cowboy on a bike in Park City, Utah 🤠🚲
Je suis un cowboy à vélo à Park City, Utah 🤠🚲 pic.twitter.com/QHAxpwJNTN
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) May 17, 2022
Coach: ‘Peter had to re-set mentally and physically’
Sagan took a long vacation, and is now in a race against time to regain winning form in time for the Tour in July.
Sagan and TotalEnergies teammate Daniel Oss recently went to Park City, Utah. The pair have shared their riding exploits on social media, with Sagan and Oss riding a mix of road and mountain bikes in the Utah Rockies.
Team officials are hoping that the low-pressure, high-altitude training camp will help Sagan regain his mojo.
“Peter had to re-set physically and mentally. We have monitored the symptoms and Peter has maintained a good foundation,” Van Beylen said.
“The intensity will be stepped up in the coming weeks. The signs are promising. But of course we have to make reservations for how he will perform in competitions again, with tempo changes and high intensity,” he said.
Sagan will stay in Utah until early June, and return to racing GP Canton Aargau on June 10 and the Tour of Switzerland on June 12-19.
“The goal is for him to perform at maximum performance again,” Van Beylen said. “He is a newcomer to the squad and he has not yet been able to prove himself or make his mark. That causes frustration for him, more than for us. There is no pressure with us.
“He is incredibly ambitious. He has a very great perseverance to achieve what he wants to achieve. If he can train 100 percent again, he will compete for the green jersey.”