Peter Sagan is coming close to the end of what has been a long and illustrious career on the road bike, and on Monday he scored what might be the last victory before he makes the switch to mountain bikes – albeit in a derny criterium rather than a top-level UCI race.
The Slovakian took part in the derny race Wetteren, Belgium on Monday, with riders including Jonas Gregaard (Uno-X), Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe), Dries De Bondt (Alpecin-Deceuninck), and Oliver Naesen (AG2R Citroën) among those racing in the derny motorbike-paced event.
Sagan came out on top in the third 44km race of the day in front of an estimated 10,000 spectators in the town close to Gent. He beat Meeus and Jasper De Buyst (Lotto-Dstny) in the sprint finish, also winning the combined overall classification at the event.
Earlier in the day, Naesen and Michael Vanthourenhout (Pauwel Sauzen-Bingoal) came out on top in the first two 33km races.
“I’ve always liked racing in Belgium. I won some very important races here,” Sagan told Het Nieuwsblad in Wetteren. “Will this be my very last road race in Belgium? More than likely it will be, but never say never in life.
“I’ll do some mountain bike races in Belgium next season, but my road career will soon be over.”
33-year-old Sagan, who completed his final Tour de France this year but hasn’t won on the road since last summer, will switch to mountain bike racing next season. He’s set to race for the Specialized Factory Racing team in the discipline where he finished 63rd at the MTB Worlds in Glasgow.
He started out his career racing mountain bikes, becoming junior world champion in 2008 before switching over to road racing and notching up 121 wins including 12 stages of the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders, and back-to-back-to-back world titles.
Sagan announced his retirement back in January. He recently rode the World Championships road race and Bretagne Classic – failing to finish either race – and is set to call time on his road career at the Tour de Vendée on October 1.