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Meet the ex-WorldTour rider turned mountain biker trying to convince Peter Sagan to go full enduro

Michael Kolar left Bora Hansgrohe to chase the dream of racing the Enduro World Series

Michael Kolar Peter Sagan 2016 road championships Doha Photo by: Michael Kolar with Peter Sagan on his wheel at 2016 road world championships in Doha. Kolar was key to Sagan winning his second elite title at the race in Qatar. Photo: Sirotti

What does it take to succeed at the highest levels of WorldTour racing? How much harder is it to quit, and then go pro in a totally different discipline? Michael Kolar has from helping Peter Sagan win races to careening down mountainsides in pursuit of the Enduro World Series, in just over two years.

Kolar talks to New Zealand downhill racer Wyn Masters about his switch from road to mountain biking.

Kolar also shares why he’s trying to talk Peter Sagan into joining him in his quest to race the Enduro World Series.

Watch episode 9 of the Wyn or Lose podcast, as Masters talks to Kolar about racing with Sagan, and how the switch to mountain biking is going. After a slow start, the conversation starts to reveal the connections between all cyclists. Kolar shows a ex-WorldTour riders respect for how demanding enduro is. Masters, a World Cup downhill and EWS racer, proves to be as deeply appreciative of what pros go through on the road.

Michael Kolar
Michael Kolar racing the seventh stage of 2017 Binckbank Tour, from Essen to Geraardesbergen. Photo: Sirotti

Half Canadian and half-way from road to mountain bikes

Kolar was born in Prauge, Czech Republic, but grew up in Toronto, Ont. until he was 12. In fact, his step-father still has a bike shop in the city.

While he spent his international career racing for Slovakia, including a critical role assisting Sagan to his road world title in Doha in 2016, his Canuck roots must have had some impact. The 27-year-old ex-WorldTour pro is attempting to start a second pro riding career. This time, he’s gunning for the gravity-fed world of enduro mountain biking.

Wyn or Lose Ep.9: Michael Kolar

Kolar, who now calls Zilina, Slovakia home, still has one foot in the world of road racing. After retiring from the WorldTour, he’s taken on a role managing Bora Hansgrohe’s VIP program. He still remains close with Sagan as well. As he shares with Masters, he’s trying to convince the Slovakian world champ to join him in switching to enduro. Kolar’s willing to wait until Sagan makes his own retirement from road racing, though.

While it is a big jump across from skinny tires to the big suspension of a modern enduro race bike, it’s not that much of a stretch for either rider. Sagan and Kolar both grew up racing cross country mountain bikes in Slovakia.

While Sagan’s exploits on the road are what has earned him international fame, his mountain bike palmares are already impressive. Sagan won the junior men’s cross country world championships in 2008. In 2016, he briefly returned to knobby tires. Sagan raced the Olympic mountain bike race in Rio, preferring it to the hilly Olympic road race course. It didn’t go his way, with the Slovakian flatting out of the lead group, but he’s talked about returning to mountain biking again since.

How is Kolar’s switch to enduro going? Check out the 1/2 Canadian’s Road to Enduro below.

Michael Kolar: Road to Enduro

Listen to the full Wyn or Lose podcast episode featuring Michael Kolar on Spotify or iTunes