Peter Sagan spearheaded the success of the Bora-Hansgrohe drivers in the national road championships, winning his seventh Slovak road title with a solo victory in the combined race with the Czech Republic at Bánovce nad Bebravou on Sunday.
“I am very proud and happy to have won my seventh Slovak national championship. I want to thank everyone for their support during the race, it is nice to be back in Slovakia,” said Sagan.
Sagan crossed the finish line 35 seconds ahead of Czech riders Michael Kukrle and Dominik Neuman (both Elkov-Kasper), while Slovakia’s second-best rider, Matus Stocek, was far ninth at 3:02. Defending champion Juraj Sagan did not participate after breaking his collarbone in training. The Sagan brothers have won the Slovak title in the past 11 years, with Juraj winning four.
It was the first of Bora-Hansgrohe’s three national titles, with Max Schachmann largely winning the German league victory over Jonas Koch and Georg Zimmermann (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert).
Schachmann was national champion in 2019, but missed the rescheduled 2020 race after being knocked down by a driver who entered the course in the Il Lombardia final and broke his collarbone. Bora-Hansgrohe missed out on victory at the 2020 German Championships when Pascal Ackermann took second in the sprint behind Marcel Meisen, but Schachmann took no chance of securing the title for the German team.
“We wanted to avoid a situation like last year, so we made the race very difficult from the start and then tried to attack at the right time,” said Schachmann. “Everyone really deserved this victory and I want to thank my teammates for all their great work. It’s really nice to be able to wear this jersey in the peloton again.”
Patrick Konrad made a hat-trick for the team with another solo success in the Austrian championships, away from Marco Haller (Bahrain Victorious). His teammate Patrick Gamper finished third.
“I knew before the start that Marco would be very dangerous today because the course was perfect for him,” said Konrad. “The race was very difficult from the start as we entered the hills for the first time. I was able to attack with Gampi and then separate myself from him and Marco. However, it was a long fight as our gap was never so big.
But with Pösti [Lukas Pöstlberger], we had a rider in the chasing group, so we could always count on Plan B. Gampi had an incredible race and I owe him the victory. In the final I was able to leave Marco on the longest climb, but even there I really had to go deep to keep him from coming back towards me. It’s incredible to travel the Tour de France in the national champion’s jersey, and a great victory for the team. I’m ready for the Tour, last week I was at altitude again and fitness is just at its peak in the coming weeks. “