Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) considers a fourth world title “not impossible” in 2018 despite 4,670 metres of climbing around Innsbruck, Austria.
The local organiser released the Alpine course last week, which includes the Igls climb to 1,039 metres every lap and the Gramartboden with 25 per cent on the final long lap.
“No, nothing is impossible,” Sagan told La Gazzetta dello Sport when asked if he was forgetting about next year’s Worlds.
“On Sunday, we had 3,600 metres of climb, so we are not very far off. With an adjusted programme, I think I could be able to aim for it, but let’s see. If I get that form that I had when I finished with Nibali in Tirreno-Adriatico …”
Sagan won a record-equalling three titles on Sunday and became the first to win three titles consecutively. It ended in a small sprint in Bergen, Norway, where he won over home star Alexander Kristoff (Katusha-Alpecin). He would be the absolute record holder if he wins a fourth title.
The 265-kilometre course on September 30, 2018 in Innsbruck is considered the hardest in many years or at least since the 1995 worlds in Colombia won by Abraham Olano.
The elite men will cover the 24-kilometre circuit seven times. The Igls climb rises 400 metres and averages 10 per cent. The final lap takes in the Gramartboden with its section of 25 per cent, with the summit coming eight kilometres before the finish line.
After a busy 2017 season, Sagan is switching off with his expecting wife. He would not comment too much on 2018, but despite saying the Worlds is possible, he ruled out trying to add monuments Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Il Lombardia to his palmarès.
“I’m almost 80 kilograms,” he said. “Don’t believe those that say 73-74, my in form weight varies between 78 and 79. How can I win those races?”
Many have asked what is next for Sagan, who has taken 101 professional victories thanks to his sprint at the end of flat or mixed terrain. Some say he could lose weight and aim for the Tour de France overall.
“It’s clear, he’d have to modify his body, thin down, losing power, everything,” said Roberto Amadio, who managed the former Liquigas team where Sagan began racing professionally.
“Working on it, he could also win a Tour de France designed in a certain way. But it’s a complex discussion.”