Cycling: Sagan will shake things up, warns Horner

Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:49pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

LONDON (Reuters) - Believe it or not, Britain's world champion Mark Cavendish is not everyone's tip for Saturday's Olympic road race.

Although he will be backed by four top-notch team mates looking to set up a mass sprint, Cavendish should be wary of Slovakian prodigy Peter Sagan, who won the green jersey for the points classification on the Tour de France, according to American racer Chris Horner.

"I'd say he is going to impact the race dramatically, I think he is the biggest threat Cavendish has," Horner told reporters on Friday.

Sagan showed during his maiden Tour de France campaign that he had fine climbing abilities, which would help him to shake up the field on Box Hill, an short ascent the peloton will tackle nine times in quick succession on Saturday.

"He's going to destroy the field up the climb at some point. He's not going to want to come to the finish with Cavendish," added Horner.

"I would put him down in this race as my absolute favorite here if he can race with the same form he has had all year, which I don't see why not. He's going to be very strong in the climb."

Sagan, who won three stages on the Tour this month, will not benefit from any team help as he is the only Slovakian rider at the start.

Top cycling nations get five riders per team, which is the case with Britain, who will look to contain 'punchers' such as Sagan.   Continued...

Liquigas-Cannondale rider and best sprinter green jersey holder Peter Sagan of Slovakia celebrates on the podium after the final 20th stage of the 99th Tour de France cycling race in Paris July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel