Sagan ready for 2020 Giro d'Italia swansong

Emmeline MOORE

Milan (AFP) - Former world champion Peter Sagan said Thursday be could retire next season after announcing he would compete for the first time in the Giro d'Italia as the route for the 2020 race around Italy was unveiled in Milan.

"I always said that I wanted to do the Giro before I finish my career and maybe after the Giro I can finish my career," said the Slovak.

Sagan confirmed he will also take part in the Tour de France where the 29-year-old holds the record for clinching the points winner's green jersey seven times.

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"I'm very happy that it starts very close to Slovakia," the former three-time world champion said on the sidelines of the presentation.

"I really like this route, right from the first stages in Hungary. I'm sure there will be many of my supporters on the route for the first three stages because Slovakia is very close to Hungary.

"But we will also enjoy the stages on the Italian roads, as I lived and used to train in Italy and where I won my first World Championship in 2008.

"It's going to be a very tough season for me I think with Giro and the Tour. I have to plan well but I just want to try something new."

Ecudorian Richard Carapaz said he hoped to defend his title along with former two-time winner Vincenzo Nibali and Belgian Tom Dumoulin.

"It will depend on the team. I hope I can do it," said Carapaz, who sealed his first Grand Tour victory in Verona in June.

The 26-year-old will ride alongside 2018 Giro winner Chris Froome for Team Ineos next season.

Carapaz's participation could depend on whether Froome competes in Italy or puts his focus on a fifth Tour de France title.

- Balanced race -

With the list of participants still uncertain the race has appeal for both the climbers and road race specialists.

Budapest, Sicily, the Dolomites and the Alps, it includes three time-trials, six summit finishes, among the 21 stages covering 3,579km.

The first three stages will be raced in Hungary, the 14th time the race has started outside Italy.

It gets underway on May 9 with an individual time-trial on the streets of Budapest, and finishes on May 31 on front of Milan's iconic Duomo.

"It's a nice Giro route; the first part suits me best but I will try to stay until the end in Milan," added Sagan.

Giro d'Italia director Mauro Vegni added: "The course will be challenging, but balanced.

"The last week in the Dolomites and the Alps will be decisive and the return of the finale in Milan with an Individual Time Trial will keep the race open until the last day."

Riders will then travel to Italy from Hungary by plane with no rest day after for three consecutive stages in Sicily, culminating with a climb up Mount Etna.

For the first time, a stage will be raced within a military base.

The Italian Air Force base at Rivolto, near Udine in north-eastern Italy, which is home of the 'Frecce Tricolori' (Tricolour Arrows) aerobatic display team, will host stage 15.

The time-trial specialists will have about 60km between Budapest, the 14th stage in the vineyards of the Prosecco region at Valdobbiadene in the north-east.

The climbers will have three summit finishes on the final week at Madonna di Campiglio, Laghi di Cancano and Sestriere.

The highest point will be the Stelvio in the Alps on stage 18th with riders facing a gruelling 2,758m climb.

To mark the centenary of the birth of Italian film director Federico Fellini stage 11 will finish at his hometown of Rimini.

Italian cycling legend Marco Pantani will again be remembered with a looping stage around Cesenatico, the city where he died in 2004.

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