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Sagan mulls calendar options as Bora-Hansgrohe plans training camp

Reports hint three-time world champion might skip northern classics in favor of Giro d'Italia.

What will Peter Sagan’s schedule look like if racing resumes later this summer? That’s a big question mark as his Bora-Hansgrohe team plans its first team training camp in Austria.

Sagan, 30, has yet to publicly confirm his racing calendar, but there are reports in Slovakian media that the three-time world champion still wants to fulfill his promise to race the Giro d’Italia this year for the first time of his career. If true, that would mean Sagan might miss the rescheduled cobblestone classics, which overlap the Giro on the revised calendar.

According to a report in Sport.sk, Sagan is leaning toward racing both the Tour de France and Giro, as he had originally planned before the coronavirus outbreak.

Under the revised schedule, that would mean back-to-back grand tours without much rest. The Tour is slated for August 29-September 20, while the Giro runs from October 3-25. That would give Sagan barely two weeks to recover, with the road cycling world championships set for a mountainous route in Switzerland on September 27.

So far, Sagan has confirmed he will race Milano-Sanremo as well as the Tour, and he posted a message on Instagram this week expressing his enthusiasm for a return to racing. With the revised schedule, however, if Sagan did race the Giro, that would mean he would miss the northern classics, with key dates at Tour of Flanders (October 18) and Paris-Roubaix (October 25) clashing with the Giro.

While Sagan’s plans remain undefined, his Bora-Hansgrohe team is scheduling its first team camp slated for the Ötztal region of Austria. With WorldTour racing scheduled to resume August 1 at Strade Bianche, teams are starting to get the wheels turning again.

“We have two months to prepare for our first races, so the training camp is ideal and everyone is very motivated,” said team manager Ralph Denk. “We have perfect conditions, both at altitude and in the valley. Therefore we can offer tailored programs for our athletes, so that they’ll all be able to return to top form in August.”

With popular high-altitude destinations such as Teide or Sierra Nevada still off-limits due to Spain’s travel restrictions until late June, teams are looking for closer-to-home options. The Ötztal region features several high-altitude climbs, including the Timmelsjoch, Austria’s highest road border crossing at 2,509m, the Rettenbachferner, with an average gradient of 10.5 percent at 13.5km, and the Ötztal Glacier Road, which climbs to 2,830 meters.

Team officials said they will introduce a series of steps to assure health and safety for riders and staffers, including splitting the team into smaller working groups for the camp set to start in mid-June.

“The basis of these concepts lies in infection prevention through hygiene and behavioral regulations, well-thought-out control over work processes and contacts, and clearly regulated medical measures such as targeted COVID-19 testing,” said Bora-Hansgrohe team doctor Jan-Niklas Droste. “For the team, it is, and has always been, our aim, even before the corona crisis, to offer a responsible and sustainable approach to healthcare for our riders and staff. The corona pandemic has presented us with new challenges, but it does not lead us to question these values. Instead, we are expanding upon them with new concepts that we have introduced to adapt to our new circumstances.”