Many would have expected Peter Sagan as current Road World Champion to start the Rio Olympics Road Race.
However, in a joint decision made by the relevant commissions of each discipline, Sagan traded his seat on the road race team in return for the only Slovakian position in the Olympic cross-country event.
The Slovakian Olympic Committee quoted John Žilová, head of the mountain bike commission who said Sagan wont just participate in the cross-country event, but will be aiming for the top spot. “”We have long considered and thought about all the ‘pros and cons’ of the nomination committee of mountain biking. The aim is to give Slovakia the best possible result. Peter Sagan in the past managed to win the world title in mountain biking, so his chances of a good outcome are realistic. At the moment, I can confirm that support for the plan from of all nominees.”
In late April Sagan competed in two elite-level cross-country races in Eastern Europe after his Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem victories.
He secured enough ranking points to be able to qualify for the Olympics with a fourth place finish at the Czech Cup event in Teplice.
The Olympic Committee confirmed that Martin Haring and Patrik Tybor will ride in the road race. Haring and Michal Lami are the reserve riders to the only Slovakian spot in the cross-country race. Lami is currently ranked 32nd on the UCI cross-country rankings.