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Sagan heading to the U.S. for racing, training after Flèche Wallonne

GHENT, Belgium (VN) — Peter Sagan (Cannondale) has announced his schedule for the coming months: Flèche Wallonne on Wednesday and plenty of time in North America after that. In addition to the major races, the Slovak will also train at altitude in Colorado.

After suffering cramps in Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race, Cannondale said that Sagan would close out his classics season in Flèche Wallonne.

“We’ve decided to put Sagan in the Flèche team because of his strong desire to race it and to give him the chance to gain experience,” Cannondale sports director Alberto Volpi said in a press release. “His Amstel result means little. It was determined his cramps were due to the heat. The form that he showed in Brabantse Pijl can’t just disappear like that. We think he can do well, even with all the unknowns that come along with a debut in a classic this tough.”

The “Saganator” won Ghent-Wevelgem and Brabantse Pijl (Brabant Arrow), and placed second in Milano-Sanremo and Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) this spring. The only snag was the Amstel Gold Race.

Volpi told VeloNews that Sagan started to feel cramps 30 kilometers from the finish. Sagan said the heat was to blame.

“When we were going along at normal speeds in the group, I felt fine,” Sagan said. “When I had to do the last climb, I couldn’t get out of the saddle.”

The team said the race was just a blip on the radar and that Sagan should be good for Flèche Wallonne.

After that, Sagan will take a break and restart in the U.S.

“He’ll re-start with the Tour of California and point towards the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France,” general manager Roberto Amadio told VeloNews. “He wants to get to the Tour with the best condition to win a stage and maybe try for the green jersey.”

Sagan will spend even more time in the U.S. and Canada later in the season to prepare for a possible run at the world championships, to be held in Florence, Italy.

“We’re planning a high-altitude training camp in Colorado along with the [USA Pro Challenge] so that he arrives on form for the worlds and the two Canadian races in Montreal and Quebec,” Amadio said. “If he stays concentrated, I think that he could have a good worlds. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.”

Sagan has never competed in the USA Pro Challenge before, but with Cannondale taking over title sponsorship this year it becomes even more important. Added together with California and Canada, this is Sagan’s biggest North American racing program to date.