World champion Peter Sagan might have liked the views after previewing the Rio de Janeiro Olympic road race course this week, but he admitted it’s too hilly for him.
Sagan took advantage of his trip to South America to debut his 2016 season at the Tour de San Luís and previewed the Rio course with a few Tinkoff teammates. The takeaway? It’s too hard for Sagan.
“This course is not for me,” Sagan said during a press conference, reports Nieuwsblad.be. “This is more suitable for pure climbers. I don’t see a medal here for myself.”
Sagan rode the Rio course with Tinkoff teammates Maciej Bodnar, Pawel Poljanski, Raja Majka, and Tinkoff sport director Patxi Vila. A gaggle of Brazilian fans trailed along as Sagan took in the route. With two major climbs in the circuit course along the coast road south of Rio, the Olympic road course is attracting attention from the likes of Sky’s Chris Froome, Tinkoff’s Alberto Contador, and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana.
After his course inspection, Sagan took his name off the list of contenders. That doesn’t mean he won’t participate in the Olympics, but he admitted he doesn’t see himself as a medal contender.
“This doesn’t change anything for me,” Sagan said of his season goals. “I will keep working on preparing for the spring classics and the Tour de France.”
Sagan will make his European debut later this month ahead of a busy spring classics schedule. He will race Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne at the end of February, followed by Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, and Milano-Sanremo in Italy, before diving straight into the northern classics.
Sagan didn’t commit to whether or not he will race in the Rio Games, but hinted he will come back to Brazil someday.
“This is a beautiful city, with a lot of mountains and greenery and beaches, but I came here to work,” Sagan said. “Maybe some day I will come back as a tourist.”