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Peter Sagan is choosing climbs over cobblestones this month.
On Monday organizers of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya revealed that Sagan will take part in the 2021 race, which runs March 22-28 across Northern Spain. The stage race, known for its punishing climbs in the region around Barcelona, overlaps with two Flemish cobbled classics: E3 Saxo Classic on March 26 and Gent-Wevelgem on March 28.
In choosing Catalunya, Sagan is likely bidding adieu to two of the early cobbled classics.
📢 Benvingut Peter Sagan a la #VoltaCatalunya100!
El tricampió del món disputarà per primer cop la Volta en l'edició del centenari! 💯
— Volta a Catalunya (@VoltaCatalunya) March 15, 2021
Sagan won the E3 Saxo Classic in 2014, and he owns three wins at Gent-Wevelgem (2013, 2016, and 2018). His last win at the cobbled classic came in 2018 and was a precursor to Sagan’s eventual triumph at Paris-Roubaix.
Skipping cobbled races is inline with Sagan’s recent racing decisions. In 2020 he chose to race the Giro d’Italia over Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix. Sagan ended the Giro with one stage victory, which was his sole win of 2020.
Sagan has endured a rocky start to the 2021 season. In early February he recorded a positive test for COVID-19 while attending a training camp in Gran Canaria, Spain, and was forced to go into quarantine. The time away forced him to miss the opening cobbled races at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, both of which Sagan has won before.
Sagan began his racing campaign at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he finished 11th in the bunch sprint on stage 1.