Fontana on Sagan’s quest for mountain bike gold
Peter Sagan’s decision to participate in the cross country mountain bike event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games has been welcomed by 2012 bronze medallist Marco Aurelio Fontana, though he warned that the world road champion might struggle to finish on the podium on August 21.
Sagan will forgo the Olympic Games road race, meaning that after the conclusion of the Tour de France on July 24, he will have four weeks in which to prepare for the mountain bike event.
“Peter will come out of the Tour in great aerobic condition but in our races it’s rhythm that counts: accelerating, steering, relaunching again. He knows how to handle a bike, but he’ll have to work on intensity. I think he’ll struggle to get in the top three,” Fontana told Gazzetta dello Sport. “But he’s a phenomenon, we can expect anything from him.”
Sagan was a junior world champion in the discipline in 2008. The Tinkoff rider was awarded Slovakia’s sole Olympic mountain bike berth on Tuesday, having clocked up sufficient qualifying points by placing fourth in the Czech Strabag MTB Cup in April.
“In 2014, he confided in me that it was his dream to race mountain bikes. It’s good to know that he’s come back to race off road. It’s a positive for the whole movement,” said Fontana, who noted that the Rio de Janeiro course requires a degree of interpretation.
“The course is quite technical, but not one of the most difficult,” he said. “The unknown quantities are the heat and the special terrain: you risk sliding off on the corners.”
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