Peter Sagan will not compete at this year's Strade Bianche on March 5, after race organisers RCS Sport announced the Slovakian's new team, Team TotalEnergies, haven't been selected as a wildcard pick for the event.
Instead, RCS has selected three Italian ProTeams as its wildcard selections for Strade Bianche, with Bardiani–CSF–Faizanè, Drone Hopper–Androni Giocattoli and Eolo–Kometa Cycling Team joining 17 of the 18 WorldTour teams on the start line - Cofidis won't be riding in the Italian Classic - as well as Alpecin-Fenix and Team Arkéa–Samsic, who both qualified for the race by ranking.
Sagan has never won Strade Bianche before, one of the few classics he has failed to triumph in during his stellar career. RCS' announcement, therefore, means he will have to wait at least another year to attempt to fill that elusive gap on his palmares, with his best finish at the race coming in both 2013 and 2014 when he crossed the line in second-place.
While at Bora-Hansgrohe last year, the former three-time world champion missed the race too after testing positive for Covid-19 at the end of February. He could have competed in the event, instead preferred to delay his season debut until Tirreno-Adriatico the week after.
Starting and finishing in the Tuscan city of Siena, Strade Bianche consists of challenging gravel roads and a steep and narrow climb on the roughly-paved Via Santa Caterina leading to the finish atop the illustrious Piazza del Campo.
Mathieu van der Poel won the event last year, but it is unlikely he will defend his title this time around as he continues his recovery from an injured back and knee surgery. Julian Alaphilippe finished second, while Egan Bernal crossed the line third.
RCS has also revealed the list of teams that will participate in its spring UCI WorldTour races this season, but will wait to announce the wildcard picks for the Giro d'Italia, Milano-Torino and Il Giro di Sicilia.
Team TotalEnergies has been selected for Tirreno-Adriatico on March 7-13 though, with the French team also qualifying by ranking Milan-San Remo on March 19. Sagan has also failed to win that particular Monument during his career, finishing second on two separate occasions.
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