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Sagan picks cross-country over road race at Rio

Reigning world road cycling champion Peter Sagan will shun the road race at Rio Olympics and take part in the cross-country mountain bike race instead, the Slovak Cycling Federation said Tuesday.

The 26-year-old Slovak Tinkoff rider started his career off the road, winning the cross-country gold at the junior world championships in 2008, a year in which he also finished second at the cyclo-cross world championships.

“Peter has offered his road race berth in exchange for a cross-country spot,” said Peter Privara, head of the federation.

“After the Tour de France, he will have four weeks for special training.”

“As far as we know him, he will not want to merely take part in the Olympics, he will want to fight for a top result,” Privara said.

The charismatic Sagan, runner-up at last month’s Tour of California, won the world road title in Richmond, USA last September.

In 2012-2015, Sagan won four straight green jerseys at the Tour de France, where he has claimed four stage wins altogether alongside a host of second-place finishes.

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