World champion Peter Sagan doesn't expect an easy ride in his first European races of the season at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne

Peter Sagan may be among the favourites for both Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne this weekend, but doesn’t expect to have an easy rid in his first European races of the season.

The world champion will lead Tinkoff in the year’s first one-day Classics and will be looking to get his first win of the season under his belt ahead of the cobbled Monuments.

Sagan hasn’t raced since January’s Tour de San Luis but hopes his training block will put him in good shape for the weekend’s efforts.

“I am curious to see how my first two starts in Europe will be,” he said. “The race in San Luis was held a month ago, so it has been a long time. I prepared diligently, I spent a lot of time at the training camp in Sierra Nevada and I know I’m doing well. I am interested in seeing how strong my opponents are.

“These races in Belgium are set to kick off the final phases of my preparation for the spring monuments, which, yet again, will be a great challenge to me. Both races are quite long and difficult and they nearly always indicate who will succeed in the spring part of the season. It will be the first test and I expect a sharp confrontation with the best riders.”

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Sagan is hoping to become the first rider to win one of cycling’s Monuments while wearing the world champion’s jersey since Paolo Bettini won Il Lombardia in 2006.

He came close to winning his first major one-day race in 2015, finishing fourth in both Milan-San Remo and Tour of Flanders but hopes to go a few steps better this season.