"Maybe it's more funny" says the roadie superstar
Sagan on not doing the Olympic road race
“The decision to race in mountain bike was made in January. It’s all in the past. I am here to focus on mountain bike.
“I’m surprised in the victory of Greg Van Avermaet [in the Olympic road race], but the road race in the Olympics is a strange race. There is not a strong field, it depends on the legs, it depends on the luck. He was also a bit lucky due to the crash involving the others, but the Olympic gold medal is for all of life.”
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What bike will Sagan be racing on?
“I will race on full suspension, on a Specialized Epic.”
On hearing about the fire at the Olympic mountain bike venue
“I have heard about this fire, but I only saw the video of the course, so I am not so sure there are many trees there. I don’t know if there was too much damage.
“I will go there tomorrow for training, and I will see the parcours for the first time. The course is very fast. It’s a little bit technical in some points. We will see.”
Pre-Olympic training at Park City, Utah
“I wanted some rest after the Tour de France, and to do some training at altitude. I already know this place, and I have visited there before after the Tour of California. I know the roads and the trails. I feel more comfortable there. It feels like home.
“It’s always better to do a bit of racing before a competition. OK, it wasn’t a super-race, not a high level, but to come to the Olympics without some starts, that’s bad. I was always at altitude, and it could be good for the preparation. We’ll see on Sunday.”
Where does he hope to finish on Sunday?
“I don’t hope for anything. I have not raced mountain bike in seven years. A lot of things have changed. I’m here for more personal [reasons]. I want to try. I don’t expect nothing big. I will give the maximum for sure.
“Can I win? If I lose, I am not disappointed. If I win, it’s so good. I’m here for a result. I’m here to give my best.”
Returning to mountain biking
“It’s very nice. I started racing mountain bikes, for me, it’s always been special. I didn’t do big World Cups, but I am here in the biggest race in the world. That is fun.
“The races are shorter now. Before, we would race two hours, now it’s more around one and a half hours. I think the parcours can be good for me. Technically, I am not bad. I am not here to lose.”
Sagan’s previous Olympic experiences
“I raced the road race in London and I already wanted to race mountain bike there but it was not possible. For sure, it’s a big dream for me. I have already won some big things on the road, already the road race world championship. What can I do now? Olympic Games. We will see. Maybe I have another Olympic road race in my future.”
The differences between road racing and mountain bike racing
“It’s all about one day. All about one and a half hours. The tactics I will decide during the race. You can lose the race in the start, but it could be good. Maybe if I am lucky, and I can go to the front pretty fast. Maybe I will waste too much energy.
“The Tour de France has nothing to do with mountain biking. For sure, the road race, it’s a completely different effort. You cannot compare it to time trial. It’s more like cyclo-cross. Mountain bike is something different.
“I did my best in training. I will do my best Sunday. No one knows what the hell to expect. Maybe it’s more funny.”