When it comes to electric mountain biking, however, the Slovakian doesn’t boast the same record.
In Friday’s E-MTB race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, Sagan crashed twice, both times remounting his bike to roll home in 16th. Though almost five minutes adrift of a podium spot, Sagan’s final placing was commendable in the 36-strong field that competed in the event in Les Gets, France.
The race was won by Jérôme Gilloux, An experienced E-MTB racer, who doubled up on his title-winning performance at last year’s Worlds. The Frenchman holds a stellar record of two silver medals and two gold medals since the event was introduced to the championships in 2019.
For Sagan, though, the rainbow bands were never an objective. “I won’t be able to be competitive and I’m not going for that,” the TotalEnergies rider told Gazzetta dello Sport prior to the race. “For me it will be a party, a way to give back to the fans at least a little of the affection they give me.”
Friday’s event was not Sagan’s first foray into the realms of mountain biking. In fact, the Slovakian began his career on thick tyres, becoming the junior cross-country world champion in 2008 at the age of 18.
At the summer Olympics in 2016, the then road world champion opted to leave his road bike at home, instead choosing to race in the cross-country mountain bike event for his country. In the first lap, Sagan found himself in the top three riders on the course, but a timely front wheel puncture took him out of contention and he finished in 35th.
A contributing factor to the Slovakian’s participation in the E-MTB event is his long term partnership with bike brand Specialized. The brand have long been involved in the World Electric Mountain Bike Championships. Previously, Tom Pidcock has won the event whilst riding a Specialized e-bike.
Elsewhere at this year’s championships, Swiss cyclist Nicole Göldi claimed back-to-back world titles in the women’s E-MTB event.
The UCI Mountain Bike World Championships are currently ongoing, with the week of events scheduled to conclude on Sunday with the men’s and women’s elite cross-country races.