Peter Sagan's classics push starts in Argentina. The Slovak star of team Cannondale races the Tour de San Luis, January 20 to 26, with the monuments in mind.
Sagan said in a press release on Wednesday: "I set a foundation that in the upcoming months will allow me to race in top form."
The 23-year-old won the most races last year. He scored 22 victories, just ahead of Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) with 19. He took Ghent-Wevelgem, a stage and the green jersey at the Tour de France but missed out in the monuments. Sagan placed second in Milan-San Remo and second in the Tour of Flanders.
"He's going to be more mature, ready to faces those classics," the team's general manager, Roberto Amadio told Cycling Weekly.
Amadio said that experience, another year under the belt, will help Sagan. Last year, he appeared ready to win San Remo but Gerald Ciolek (MTN-Qhubeka) caught him off guard. Cancellara was simply too strong for Sagan in Flanders.
"He's got more experience now," Amadio added. "He's not going to make the same error in San Remo again."
Given how he rode in Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour de France and other climbing races, Amadio said the new Pompeiana climb between Cipressa and Poggio will suit Sagan.
The eighth edition of San Luis includes three summit finishes: stage two to Mirador del Potrero (1247m), stage four to Alto del Amago (1710m), and stage six to Mirador del Sol (1450m).
Besides the Tour de San Luis, Sagan uses the Dubai Tour, Tour of Oman, GP Camaiore, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico as a build up to the classics. He said over the winter that quality is more important than quantity. He would sacrifice some of his 22 wins for a monument.
He added in the San Luis press release, "I'm definitely going to try to take advantage of every available occasion to start 2014 in the best way possible."
Amadio explained luck, as well as experience, will factor in 2014.
"He was second in San Remo, Flanders... From second to first there's not much of a difference," said Amadio. "He can win those classics, he just needs to have the condition, the team and luck. He's got the team and his condition should be fine. He just needs some luck."
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