Three-time world champion Peter Sagan had surgery Monday to treat an infection in his right knee that occurred following a crash at the Tour de France, leaving his status for the Tokyo Olympics in question less than two weeks before they begin.
Sagan tangled with Caleb Ewan on the third stage of the race and went down hard at high speed. The knee was hit by the chainring on his bike, leaving a deep gash that his Bora-Hansgrohe team treated with antibiotic ointment through the past 10 days. But eventually the infection became too serious for Sagan to continue with the race.
The surgery was performed near his home in Monaco and Sagan said he hopes to resume training in a couple days.
“We did everything possible on site at the Tour, but even antibiotic treatment couldn’t prevent an infection,” said team physician Christopher Edler. “The only option was to stop racing and get the bursa surgically removed. Luckily, it was only superficial infection, and the knee joint is not involved in this at all. The surgery went well, and I think Peter will be able to start with light training again in a couple of days.”
The 31-year-old Sagan is expected to compete alongside older brother Juraj Sagan for Slovakia in the Olympic road race on July 24. He is expected to make a decision in the coming days whether to travel to Tokyo.
The punchy course that starts at Musashinonomori Park, climbs the slopes of Mt. Fuji and finishes at the Fuji Speedway west of Tokyo would fit Sagan’s riding style quite well. He has the ability to hang with the climbers on the hills but also has enough power to win a bunch sprint should a select group arrive at the closing circuit together.
Sagan, one of the most accomplished cyclists of the past decade, skipped the road race at the Rio Olympics in 2016 and instead competed in the mountain biking, where a punctured tire early in the race ruined his medal chances.
“Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment couldn’t prevent an infection. The only option was to stop racing at the Tour de France and get the bursa surgically removed,” Sagan said in a statement. “Luckily, it was a superficial infection and the knee joint is not involved in this at all. I’d like to thank the doctors and medical staff at IM2S clinic in Monaco for performing an excellent surgery on such short notice and for their great cooperation with the team’s medical staff.”