• Peter Sagan. (Bettini Photo)Source: Bettini Photo
For the first time in his career (excluding time trials), Peter Sagan will head to the Tour de France in a normal team jersey after finishing fourth behind brother Juraj at the Slovakian national road race championships.
Cycling Central

1 Jul 2019 - 1:38 PM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2019 - 5:14 PM

The former world champion rocked his 2012 Tour debut in his nation's stripes. And he has worn them or the rainbow bands ever since. (world champion jersey at 2016, 2017 and 2018 Tours de France) 

Sagan won his first national road race title in 2011 and before last weekend, triumphed every year except 2016 and 2017, his brother Juraj winning those years too. 

“I’m very happy to be crowned Slovak champion for the third time in front of such big crowds," Juraj Sagan said.

"It was a nice race and we look forward to some big celebrations tonight.”

And the celebrations for Bora-hansgrohe resounded across Europe with five of its riders (including Juraj Sagan) winning their nation's road race titles. 

In Germany, Bora-hansgrohe went 1,2,3 with Max Scachmann winning ahead of Marcus Burghardt and Andreas Schillinger. Over in Ireland, Sam Bennett was too good for Eddie Dunbar (Ineos) and Ryan Mullen (Trek-Segafredo); Davide Formolo won over Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Merida) and 2019 Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol (EF Education First) in Italy and in nearby Austria, Patrick Konrad bested Michael Gogl (Trek-Segafredo) and fellow Bora-hansgrohe teamie Gregor Muhlberger. 

Don't expect to see a male rider in Spanish livery - rainbow trumps national bands - until at least after September's world championships as reigning world champion Alejandro 'Benjamin Button' Valverde won a closely fought duel with Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) in their national road race. Valverde's victory comes just two days after announcing his end of 2021 retirement plans (when he'll be 41-years-old). 

"I was coming into the end with Luisle, who is a great friend of mine - I'm sorry he wasn't able to take the title home this time," Valverde said. "It's also sad for me I won't be able to wear the jersey, yet we couldn't miss a chance like this to take a prestigious win. I'm happy to win in front of my home crowds and the legs felt really good leading up to the TDF.”

After her breakout Women's WorldTour victory at the Tour of Chonming Island (overall plus all three stage wins) and her WorldTour podium finishes at Gent Wevelgem and Driedaagse Brugge-De Panne, Lorena Wiebes (Parkhotel Valkenburg) took on the likes of Marianne Vos (CCC), Amy Pieters (Boels-Dolmans) and Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott), emerging victorious at the women's national championships in the Netherlands.