2015 road World Champion and former Olympian Peter Sagan has exchanged his slot on the Slovak Olympic Road Team for a chance to play in Rio’s dirt.
Having begun his career on the mountain bike (taking the 2008 junior World Champ off-road jersey isn’t a bad start) Sagan is an impressive bike handler who, despite a successful road career, has never stopped mountain biking. He was selected for his country’s 2016 road team early on, but the selection process (which varies by country) gives Slovakia’s has some flexibility to provide the country its best chance of winning Olympic medals. Sagan’s place on the tarmac will be filled by Martin Hairing. An automatically-translated press release suggests that Sagan and the Slovak Olympic Committee felt that the 2016 road course would not play to Sagan’s strengths as a rider- while the mountain bike course would.
Following the Tour de France, Sagan will have four weeks to recover and find his trail legs before the men’s mountain bike event on 21 August. As with Armstrong’s decision to race Leadville, Sagan’s decision is bound to make the day just a bit more interesting.