World champion Peter Sagan withdraws during the Bretagne Classic (GP Plouay) in France on Sunday suffering with a virus

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World champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) was forced to drop out of the Bretagne Classic-Ouest France on Sunday after suffering from an illness.

Sagan started the late season one-day WorldTour race in Brittany in north-west France, but withdrew soon after. The Tinkoff team tweeted that Sagan had been feeling unwell, possibly due to a ‘viral infection’.

Sagan was making his return to road racing after riding for Slovakia at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games cross-country mountain bike event.

The 26-year-old gave up his place in the road race to concentrate on the off-road event, but his attempt to claim an Olympic medal was deflated after he suffered two punctures during the race and abandoned.

Sagan’s appearance in the Bretagne Classic was part of his build-up to a defence of the road race world title in Qatar in October. Prior to the Olympics, Sagan has enjoyed a highly successful season, winning three stages of the Tour de France and the points classification, and winning the Tour of Flanders and Ghent-Wevelgem in the spring – among other victories.

Speaking before the race, Sagan said: “I’m looking forward to getting back on the road after Rio. The Olympics was a great experience and it’s a shame that luck wasn’t on my side on the day as I feel I was capable of much more.

“I’m really keen to start the last part of the season with Tinkoff and hopefully pick up from where we left off at the Tour de France, finishing Oleg Tinkov’s final year as a team owner in style.”

The race was formerly known as the Grand-Prix de Plouay Ouest-France, and takes in a gruelling 247 kilometre route on the undulating, narrow roads of the region.

Sagan will join the German Bora-Hansgrohe team for thew 2017 season.