(AFP) – Peter Sagan is aiming to reboot his season when the Tour of California gets under way on Sunday following a disappointing start to the year for the experienced Slovak rider.
The three-time world champion has a history of success in California, winning the event in 2015 and holding the record for stage victories in the race with 16.
However, the 29-year-old will line up for Sunday’s opening stage in Sacramento after a frustrating start to 2019, which has seen him fail to win since a stage victory at the Tour of Down Under in Australia in January.
He failed to finish in his two most recent outings, last month’s Amstel Gold Race and La Fleche Wallonne. Prior to that, he settled for a fifth-place finish in the Paris Roubaix.
Sagan, however, believes the results don’t tell the full story of his season, noting his training regime had been disrupted by illness.
“After being sick in the spring, I was rather weak, and when I was better I immediately returned to racing, which didn’t do me any good,” Sagan said. “I lost a few weeks of training and it was what it was.
“I come to give my best and achieve the best result possible,” Sagan said. “To extend my record of stage wins will be an additional motivation.”
While the elite of cycling will be competing in the Giro d’Italia, Sagan will be battling a Tour of California peloton which sees Richie Porte make his debut in the race.
The seven-stage race starts in Sacramento on Sunday and concludes on May 18 in Pasadena, just outside Los Angeles.