Peter Sagan will race the Grand Prix in Quebec and Montreal for the first time since 2013 to build his fitness for October's World Championships

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Peter Sagan will build up to his World Championship defence by taking in the two WorldTour Grand Prix in Canada this weekend with the Tinkoff rider also looking to extend his lead in the rider rankings.

The Slovak’s lead at the top of the world rankings leaderboard is under threat from Chris Froome at the Vuelta a España and Sagan is also short of racing since the Olympic Games.

He started the GP Plouay but pulled out early in the race due to illness, but with memories of winning in Canada back in 2013, Sagan goes to the GPs in Montreal and Quebec with high hopes.

“After a short period of rest following Plouay I resumed training on Saturday and I’m looking forward to racing in Canada,” Sagan said.

“I have good memories of these races having won in Montréal in 2013. We have a strong team for these races and if it is not me at the front at the end then I know that the other guys are also capable of getting a result here.”

It is the first time Sagan will race the Canadian races since beating Simone Ponzi and Ryder Hesjedal at the GP Montreal in 2013, with the hilly profile and climb to the finish suiting Sagan’s skillset.

“Both have tough parcours and I’m quite suited to both. I hope that I will have recovered enough in time to be able to challenge again here,” he said. “There are not many WorldTour races left to score points in so I would like to continue picking up points here and see how the standings are after the Vuelta.”

Sagan leads Froome by nearly 400 points in the UCI World rankings, but with the Team Sky rider set to pick up points for a possible podium finish at the Vuelta a España, the world champion has his work cut out to stay on top.