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  • packfill

    Give the spot to one of the guys who’s dedicated his life to mountain biking. Sagan chased the money. He doesn’t deserve it.

    • Bex

      he’s chasing an olympic medal (i guess money comes after), and they’re asking for an extra spot for him not taking one from their dedicated mtb riders. i agree if they drop a mtb specialist for him though, unless he’s the best in the country which he hasn’t proven to be at this point he doesn’t deserve their only slot.

    • Saeba R.

      Spiteful. However you seem to have failed to read and understand the article.

      He is the best (and likely most popular) cyclist in the world, so no matter your opinion there is certainly merits (and demerits) in him getting a wildcard place.

      • Bex

        he’s not the best MTB rider in his country let alone the world, which is the discipline he’s seeking entry for. Sure most popular, but who feels good about positions given based on popularity rather than merit. I think that’s what Packfill was getting at.

        • Saeba R.

          Being the top road rider in the world with a background in MTB but little realistic opportunity for regular qualification would be clear argument of merit.

          Popularity is also kind of important point for those of us choosing to live in reality. It is easy to have the opposing position yet in real life Sagan competing would seem fantastic for the future sustainability of MTB as an Olympic and professional sport.

          Yes there are some demerits. So perhaps the situation is grey rather than black and white. I am merely presenting the counter view.

        • jakub

          Well, that is hard to conjecture whether he is or isn’t the best MTB rider in his country. Haring and Lami fighting for the spot unfortunately do not have any serious results in the UCI MTB World Cup. Neither they have any results as juniors/U23. What speaks in Sagan’s favour is that he is junior XC champion and also placed 4th in U23 XC worlds. Indeed, he didn’t race cross country for many years now, but he definitely has the engine and skills. With a bit of dedicated training, I’d say he can top both guys. In fact, he already did in the Czech Strabag MTB cup (one of the two XC races he participated this year) – Sagan placed 4th, Lami and Haring 8th and 12th respectively.

      • packfill

        And if they don’t get the wildcard spot…

        Slovakia has one cross-country spot confirmed through the UCI’s qualification system, with either Michal Lami or Martin Haring LIKELY to take it.

        “We will decide the spot according to our internal criteria,” Jan Žilovec, chairman of the SZC’s MTB cross-country commission, told Slovak website Aktuálne.sk. “Within the next week we will give an opinion to the Slovak Olympic Committee.”

        That doesn’t sound definite to me. He’s one of the best ROAD cyclist in the world. We Americans have had a couple of junior MTB world champs in the last 15 years or so. That means nothing with respect to how they did as elites.

        • Saeba R.

          You are deliberately reading things into it in order to avoid confronting that you initially misread the article. It is clearly about the wildcard spot.

          Sagan IS the best rider in the world. Whether you like him or not it is simply undeniable.

          And you think he may not have made it as an Elite MTB rider. What nonsense.

          • packfill

            I’ve been waiting for an apology. Go ahead. It might help to make you a little less angry.

            and, he’s the best road rider in the world. he’s not the best mountain biker. we have a race for that.

    • awesometown

      I know I hate it when the best riders in the world want to race in the most important races. WHAT A DICK.

  • Saeba R.

    Would certainly create a lot of interest in the race for us roadies!

  • dllm

    And MTB guys are seeking wildcard entries to road race.

  • RayG

    Is he related to Jarryd Hayne?

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  • Dave

    This is an excellent case for the UCI adding a wildcard entry. The same would go for Marianne Vos if she wanted to race MTB.

    If Sagan is already likely to be entering the road race, it’s not like it would result in any addition being made to the total number of athletes across all disciplines of cycling which is capped.

  • Andrew O’Neill

    I don’t agree with the prospect of Sagan being given a wildcard entry. He may be an outstanding road rider, but he has as much chance of picking up a medal in the XC as he does in the men’s marathon. Zero.
    The Gold & Silver will be fought out by Shurter and Absalon. Behind them, there are 4 or 5 guys capable of snagging the bronze.
    Worthwhile highlighting that Switzerland has 8 of the top 20 ranked MTB riders in the world (all of whom would beat Sagan in an XC race at the moment) – yet they only have 3 spots for the Olympics….

  • dave

    Kick in the guts for Slovakia’s MTB riders, if Sagan can swan in to the Olympics with a 4th at a C1 that was won by a guy who finished 5′ down at Albstadt. If there are any wildcards on offer one should go to Van Der Poel, started back in about 90th at Cairns and Albstadt and rode into the 32nd and 34th respectively.

    • Saeba R.

      The ‘Guy’s name is Jan Skarnitzl and although he was 5′ down he finished 18th out of ~150 odd starters. He beat Sagan by only 1′ the other day. As ref the first Slovakian to finish at the WC you mentioned was lapped indicated at least 15’ off the winners pace.

      • Saeba R.

        That’s my analysis, could have made an error..

        • dave

          Granted that’s all correct, but Sagan would need to have destroyed that race to have any chance of competing against Schurter and Absalon. Didn’t mention Skarnitzl by name because nobody other than keen MTB fans would have known of him. Not fair for Sagan to take another riders place, if he’s not going to be fighting for the win.

          • Saeba R.

            Yeah to be fair I did need to google him – but I think 18th in a WC is pretty respectable.

            I don’t know the right answer regarding the spot. But I personally would not underestimate Sagan’s potential should he have the chance to refocus on MTB for a couple of months. My guess is that he would be an outside chance of a medal.

            But on the other hand I am thinking that if he had of trimmed some muscle mass over winter he could have been a contender for the road race anyway…


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