This year, Peter Sagan was bored with a repeat of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne. Been there, done that.
He skipped the opening cobbled classics of February in favor of Strade Bianche in Italy. He’s trading those big, hefty stones for small white, crushed gravel.
According to Bora Hansgrohe sport director Patxi Vila, the impetus for the change is monumental. “The idea is to be hitting the first peak for the northern classics. Peter already has a place in history with three world titles. Now he wants to win more monuments.”
Monuments are nice. The trophies look good on the fireplace mantle and people remember them when your retired and your son Marlon is all grown up and calling you old man. Listen, kid, I won Paris-Roubaix so don’t talk to me about tough.
First, however, he will have to tackle the white roads of Tuscany — which may be even whiter with a fresh coat of snow. Italy is having an expressive Winter and photos of the route show the edges of the road with a light coat of snow. Imagine, Sagan doing a Winter wheelie.
While he’s the reigning and three time World Champion, Sagan has only managed two second places at Strade Bianchi. Now, however, he might have a course even more suited to his exceptional bike handling skills — snow over gravel seems like a challenge made for his unique talents.
A first place will also depend on how well things went with his high altitude training in the Sierra Nevada of Spain. He’ll also benefit from classics bad-ass and new addition Daniel Oss. The Italian looked very strong a week ago in making the front group at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. No word yet on how much Oss likes snow drifting over the road.
The weather forecast is not that promising unless you like inclement weather. But then again, when you’re in the rainbow jersey, everything is beautiful, right?