• World champion Peter Sagan is hungry for the 'rainbow season' (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
World champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) will commence his 2016 'rainbow season' with the Tour de San Luis.
Cycling Central

13 Jan 2016 - 9:37 AM  UPDATED 13 Jan 2016 - 9:38 AM

Now into its tenth edition, the Tour de San Luis and features seven stages with a total distance of 921.7 km to be covered.

The Argentinean stage race has grown in recent years to become South America's most prominent event. From January 18th to 24th, the Tinkoff team, led by Sagan and Rafal Majka, will take on its first challenge of the season.

The race has become the opener for many professional top teams. Typically favourable weather conditions provide great racing during the northern hemisphere winter.

This race has increasingly become a global showcase for emerging Latin American riders. Thanks to the opportunity provided by worldwide visibility and a chance to compete alongside the world's best riders it is a pathway toward earning a place in the big WorldTour teams.

Tinkoff will send a versatile squad with Sagan and Majka as the marquee riders. They will be joined by Maciej Bodnar, Jesper Hansen, Pawel Poljanski and Nikolay Trusov.

The first stage, for the first time in the race history, will be a team time trial of 21 kilometres on a slightly hilly course (El Duranzo).

Two stages feature an uphill climb to the finish, the fourth stage arrives at Cerro El Feint (1,710m) while the sixth stage ventures up to Sierras Comechingones and Filo (2,140m) providing the first Grand Tour test for the climbers.

"It will be my first participation in Tour de San Luis. I heard it's a great and well-organised race and I think it will be a good starting point for my 2016 season,” said Majka.

“I consider the Tour de San Luis as one of my preparatory races, however Tinkoff will have a strong leader. I'm excited to start my new racing season in Argentina!”

The remaining stages are marked by a relatively flat course, an excellent opportunity for the team sprinters.

"I look forward to the upcoming ‘rainbow season’," said Sagan.

"I am also delighted to launch it at such a nice event. Tour de San Luis offers the best conditions to obtain a bit of racing pace. If I feel my legs in good form, I will also try to sprint for the first win of this season."

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The team will structure itself depending on whether it is a mountain or sprint stage. In that sense, Peter Sagan is Tinkoff's obvious option for the sprints, even if it is still too early. In fact, as this is the opening race of the season, it’s by far too early for all the riders," said Patxi Vila, Tinkoff’s sports director for the race.

"We expect a strong performance by a number of South American riders, Colombians or Argentineans, who will be at their peak form and it might be difficult for us to win. Our main target is to keep improving the preparation of our riders for the season’s big goals and take our chances whenever we can,” said Vila

"We will adapt our strategy and tactics after every stage. We will approach the race day by day, but of course we are a top professional sports team, and the desire to win is also part of our DNA.”