FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) is not aiming to shed weight and win the Tour de France in the coming years.
Sagan, who just relinquished his rainbow jersey after a three-year run as world champion, plans to keep following the path that has led to success so far.
“Who knows what’s going to happen with me,” he told The Telegraph when asked if he would lose weight to challenge the top riders like Sky’s Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France.
“If I lose the weight, am I still going to be strong? I might not be the man I am. Maybe I will lose what nature made me.
“My feeling is: why change something that is working?”
Classics and sprints are what work for Sagan, who currently weighs around 165 pounds. He won his world titles on lumpy courses that allowed him to sprint away from a reduced field. From Richmond in 2015 until Innsbruck last month, he reigned.
He spoke about those three years in a recent book, “My World,” which debuted last week in London. Ahead of the event, Sagan said he was “too fat” to contend for a fourth world title in Innsbruck.
Sagan rocketed to the top of cycling with his WorldTour debut in 2010. Besides three world titles, he counts wins in the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Ghent-Wevelgem, and 11 stages and six points competition titles in the Tour.
Some insiders close to Sagan suggested that he could lose weight and one day transition from classics cyclist to a Tour de France general classification rider. Similar transitions were made by Bradley Wiggins and Thomas.
“My personal bet is that — with the proper maturation, weight loss — is that he’ll become a grand tour rider,” Sagan’s former trainer Paolo Slongo said after his first Tour stage win in 2012.
“Like [Lance] Armstrong, who began his career as a bigger rider, a little brash, who no one gave much faith. He has no limits in the one-day races and I’m betting on the grand tours as well.”
“In the future, he can aim for stage races,” his former manager at Team Liquigas, Roberto Amadio, said in 2014. “He goes strongly in time trials and on climbs. With training, he can win a Tirreno-Adriatico or Paris-Nice, start from there and move ahead.”
Sagan does not want to change what is working. Instead, he could aim for a record number of Flanders or Roubaix titles, or perhaps win Amstel Gold or Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
“Everyone thinks I can [switch to being a Tour contender], but I think it is not for me,” he said. “It’s already hard to win, even for the climbers. They have to make a lot of sacrifices with food, training.
“I am happy to stay this way. I don’t want to be making even more sacrifices. I don’t see myself to be that serious.”
Sagan’s 2018 season has reached an end. He is due to kick off his 2019 season at Australia’s Santos Tour Down Under in January.
Hi Peter. Would you like to do more MTB races? And is a MTB career maybe a wish after you retire from road cycling? It looks to me that MTB racing is making you more happy than road cycling.
I think when I retire from the road I’ll enjoy a lot of downhill mountain biking, for sure. I don’t know if I’ll even go on a road bike in my retirement – maybe only for coffee with friends or something! I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, though.
It strikes me that your philosophy to bike racing is maybe more to win “with flair” rather than “at all costs”. Is that fair?
My philosophy? I don’t really know because I don’t really see myself on the bike, I just ride. You see only your angle, and I don’t look back at my races: that is just losing time! I think if you only had a couple of races in the season, you could do this, you could analyse your style or mistakes, but with how it is with so many races, you just have to keep going and keep improving.
You’ve said you often got bored in races. What would you do to make road racing more exciting?
Well it depends on the race, you know. For sure if it’s only 1 or 2 hours it will be faster, with everybody going full gas from the start to the end, but with a five or six hour race there are bound to be moments when we are going slow.
Do you like to play any other sports? Are you good at them?
Just for fun I do some fighting sports, play some soccer, hockey a little – I was in dance school, and we’ve done some gymnastics in training and a fair bit of swimming. I have done a lot of cross-skiing and hiking in the mountains back home.
My earliest cycling memory is Djamolidine Abdoujaparov crashing into the barriers on the final stage of the 1991 Tour. What’s your earliest cycling memory – and did it influence your decision to become a cyclist? Mine certainly did, which is why we’ve never met in the peloton. Honest, that’s the reason.
I think my earliest memory was my first time on the startline in a mountain bike race when I was 8. I borrowed my friend’s bike and won the climb time trial but had some other problems so didn’t make the top three in the GC.
What would you being doing if you hadn’t become a cyclist?
I don’t know! I really don’t. I never thought about what I was going to do in life, even when I was young, and that only changed when I signed my first contract. When I was 19 I was just riding, but after that, when you’re 21, 22, 23, you have to make a living – I thought, if I can earn money from cycling, that’s good!
Do you have a favourite stage from the Grand Tours?
No – the stages are always changing, so I don’t really have a favourite, but I do enjoy some of the races in Australia and the US, because we are in a more relaxed moment of the season. You can enjoy the people, the atmosphere etc more after the higher pressure of some of the other races.
Well I try always to do my best but maybe another World, maybe an Olympic. But I don’t want to put events in order of priority – during the season there are a lot of important races, and if you can achieve something for the team too, then that is great.
Next year? Well first I want to rest … I’ll think about next season next season! The plan now is to do a few events, there’s a gran fondo in the US in November, and if I have time maybe some holiday, perhaps 7/8 days. But that’s cycling – too much time off and it’s hard to get in shape again.
What is left for you to achieve? Will you be competing at Tokyo 2020?
A lot of things! A lot of races – maybe I can challenge again in Flanders, Roubaix – I have never won Milan-San Remo though twice I was very close but was just missing something.
Maybe another World Championship? I have done a lot of things, but I motivate myself now by keeping myself calm and enjoying it: that is my goal I think. Don’t be stressed about results but enjoy the cycling. That is, I think more important.
Have you always been fast on a bike? And what is most important to help you win – Tactics, technique, strength, or desire?
Actually when I was young, in junior races, I was better in the climb than at sprinting. After I grew up I lost some kilos … and now, I’m fast. I can keep going in some climbs, but I’m at home in the bunch sprints.
Peter Sagan will be joining us on Thursday afternoon to answer your questions. You could ask about his three consecutive World Championship victories, the hairdressing salon he co-owns with his sister, or the day he caused a minor scandal in the sport by not shaving his legs.
Sagan is not just “a true legend and one of the all-time greats” (Bradley Wiggins’ words) but he’s also a bit of a character. He turned up to his wedding in a Trabant car while wearing a gold-trimmed tunic; he decided to dress up as John Travolta’s character from Grease and sing You’re the One That I Want with his wife for an advert; and he had a bike made for the pope.
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — After three years, the world champion’s jersey finally started to weigh on Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who said he is “too fat” to win against climbers like Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) over a tough course like the one raced Sunday in Innsbruck for the 2018 world road championships.
The Slovak cyclist finished worlds early on Sunday in Austria — a DNF after three years finishing first. He still celebrated on the podium, however. He made a surprise visit and presented Spain’s Valverde his gold medal for winning.
“Why didn’t I win? I’m too fat!” Sagan told VeloNews Wednesday, joking as he rushed from one appointment to another after the world championships.
He explained Tuesday at the Sportful release that being world champion was becoming a burden. The Italian company released a new jersey, with rainbow bands on only the arms — a reminder of his three-year reign — and with the Slovakian colors across the chest because he still remains national champion.
“I’m 80 kilos, what can I do on a course like that?” Sagan said. Valverde, in comparison, is said to weigh 61 kilograms.
“It was a very difficult day for me, but we have to be proud of this new world champion who fought for many years before winning the rainbow jersey.
“In 2003, when Valverde won the silver at Hamilton, I was already racing but I was not watching the pros, I was in my world.”
Sagan surprised fans when he awarded Valverde and shook the hands of Frenchman Romain Bardet, silver, and Canadian Michael Woods, bronze.
“I rewarded him because at least so I had the chance to touch the new world championship jersey, which for three years has been with me and was starting to be a burden,” he added.
“The idea came to me because in boxing the contenders pass the belt. I asked the UCI if it was possible. I was proud to pass it over to Alejandro and he was happy about it, I told him to enjoy the jersey and take it around the world.”
Sportful presented Sagan’s line with a series of images, including those from his 2018 Gent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix wins.
“I made Elia Viviani cry? It was not me, he started crying. This Gent-Wevelgem win gave me morale after a difficult period,” Sagan said. “My first victory here was in the Liquigas jersey.
“Arriving [to win Paris-Roubaix] in the world champion’s jersey is special, even if I would not change a world championship for a classic. There are many champions who have never won that jersey, for example, Fabian Cancellara. Valverde had to work hard to do it.”
Valverde became the second oldest cyclist at 38 to win the road race world title. Sagan, 28, does not want to race that late into life.
“I hope not, I do not see myself going as strongly as him. I already feel tired.”
Peter Sagan will ride on with Bora-Hansgrohe through the 2021 season, he and the team announced Friday at a press conference.
The three-time world road champion is prepping for his bid for a fourth title this weekend in Innsbruck, Austria.
Sagan is closing out his second year with the German-based WorldTour outfit, which he joined at the start of 2017 after a two-year stint with the Tinkoff organization. During his time with Bora-Hansgrohe, Sagan has racked up two rainbow jerseys, a Tour de France green jersey, and a monument victory at Paris-Roubaix to go with a sizable collection of other WorldTour wins.
Bora-Hansgrohe also announced contract extensions for several other riders on Friday, extensions that will keep much of the team’s classics core in place around team leader Sagan for the next three years. Erik Baška, Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss, Marcus Burghardt, and Peter Sagan’s brother Juraj Sagan have all joined him in re-upping through the end of 2021.
“It was a straightforward decision for me to take, even if I still have one more season to go under my current contract,” Sagan said. “I’ve enjoyed two remarkable years with this team and I wouldn’t want to move from somewhere that has given me so much trust, support and belief in me, even in the most difficult moments.”
Bora-Hansgrohe manager Ralph Denk praised Sagan’s status as a “brand ambassador who fascinates even those outside our sport.”
“Thanks to my main sponsors BORA and hansgrohe, both of which already extended their contracts early this season, we are in the fortunate position of being able to plan on a long-term scale,” he said. “Peter is the star of cycling.”
FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Three-time world champion Peter Sagan could soon renew his contract with Bora-Hansgrohe.
Sagan’s contract runs through 2019, but the German WorldTour team is working to secure him beyond next season given his abilities and marketing capabilities.
“We and our sponsors, of course, would like to keep Peter,” team boss Ralph Denk told the Belga news agency. “We are currently in discussion, with no deadline in sight. We still have time.”
Deals are usually signed midway through the season. Agents will advertise their riders before the Tour de France or during, and teams will shop.
Given Sagan’s status – this year winning Paris-Roubaix and a sixth Tour de France green jersey – the team does not want to wait too long. Sagan has everything he needs at Bora-Hansgrohe, but the more time passes, the more rival offers could arrive and the more questions could circulate.
Denk said, “He’s the champion with the greatest charisma in cycling.”
Team Sky, similarly not wanting to let Chris Froome slip away, re-signed him in 2017 well before his contract expired at the end of 2018.
Keeping Sagan will not come cheap for Bora-Hansgrohe. Sagan continues to offer plenty of return on the road and off it in terms of marketing potential for the two German brands Bora and Hansgrohe, and Specialized bicycles.
Froome earns around £4 ($5.29) million. This year’s Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas signed a deal for around £3.5 ($4.63) million. Sagan is one of the top paid cyclists, too; when the 28-year-old Slovakian signed for Bora-Hansgrohe ahead of the 2017 season, insiders estimated his contract at €4 ($4.7) million.
“But money is not decisive,” Denk said. “For Peter too, money is not in the first consideration.”
Sagan and the team just pushed through the Vuelta a España, where Sagan tried to win another time in the rainbow jersey before next weekend’s world championship road race in Innsbruck, Austria. He was unsuccessful. He placed second four times, including in the final Madrid stage behind Elia Vivani (Quick-Step Floors).
Sagan will hope the Vuelta has left him ready to contend for a fourth world title. However, the Innsbruck course appears too much for Sagan with its 5,000 meters of climbing.
“It is very hard for me,” Sagan said. “I go there more to be a presence and to wear the Slovakian jersey. I owe it to my country. Let’s see what happens, but I do not go there with hope.”
“He’s certainly at a disadvantage on the mountainous course with his body weight of almost 80 kilograms,” Denk added.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) didn’t get the final victory in the rainbow jersey he was hoping for.
The three-time world champion raced for what’s likely the last time in the stripes during Sunday’s finale at the Vuelta a España — at least this time around. Sagan was second behind Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors) and did not win during the three-week Vuelta despite some close calls.
“I tried my best but it wasn’t enough to win the stage,” Sagan said Sunday. “Congratulations to Elia for his victory.”
Sagan returned to the Vuelta for the first time since 2015, with the hopes of winning another stage. Banged up and battered from his high-speed crash near the end of the Tour de France, Sagan admitted he wasn’t at his best at the start of the race.
Sagan hoped to ride into condition as well as win a stage. Initially it was expected that Sagan would leave the Vuelta after stage 12, but he stayed in the race all the way to Madrid with hopes of claiming what likely would be his last to win in the world champion stripes.
Sagan came close during the Vuelta, finishing second or third six times. His nemesis was Italian sprinter Viviani, a close friend and rival in the sprints. The Italian won three sprints during the Vuelta.
The Vuelta puts an end to Sagan’s tremendous three-year run in the world champion’s jersey. Sagan’s last victory was stage 13 during the Tour de France on July 20. One more win simply wasn’t in the cards.
“We finish this edition of the Vuelta having achieved less than what we had hoped for,” said general manager Ralph Denk. “We came to Spain aiming at a top-10 position in the GC and at least a stage win. We came close to those goals but we didn’t reach them, so we can’t be really happy.”
Sagan will next race at the world championships in Innsbruck. Though he is the defending champion, he won’t wear the stripes during the road race per tradition.
Sagan isn’t considered a favorite for the climb-heavy worlds course and has downplayed his chances, but he will line up anyway in part to honor the jersey.
So, will Innsbruck finally see the end to Sagan’s three-year reign as world champion? Dutch rider Bauke Mollema said don’t be too sure.
“You never know! I would not be surprised if he is still there in the final. The course looks super-hard so maybe everyone will wait until the final lap,” Mollema said. “That final climb is very steep so it’s not the perfect course for him, but you never know with Peter Sagan.”
LUINTRA, Spain (VN) — Three-time defending world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wants one more win before likely giving up the rainbow jersey later this month.
Sagan, who has won the last three road world titles, believes the parcours in Innsbruck, Austria is too hard for him to win a fourth title. His last chance to win beforehand is at the Vuelta a España.
“I like it here, warm weather and good riding with the team,” Sagan told VeloNews. “I want to at least win one stage.”
Sagan placed second Tuesday behind Elia Viviani (Quick-Step Floors). It was his third runner-up result in this Vuelta.
A crash in stage 17 of the Tour de France partly held back the 28-year-old Slovakian. He struggled to continue, but he managed to finish in Paris with a sixth green points jersey. He said even racing the Vuelta is a victory in itself after a hard recovery and training period.
“I think yeah, it’s an easy race, well not an easy race, but a relaxed race,” he replied when asked about the Vuelta being ideal preparation for the worlds.
“I can stay here in good weather and train with the team. I stay with the team. I can still take some points. I’m not winning, but I can try!”
The worlds course features 4,670 meters of climbing with a hard Igls climb on the main circuit. Sagan tipped Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) to win more than classics riders like himself.
This year, Sagan won Paris-Roubaix and three stages and the green jersey at the Tour. The tough worlds course is likely too much to continue his rainbow streak.
“It’s hard,” Sagan said of winning a fourth title. “It’s not obvious that I win it three times in a row and I’m going to win it a fourth time. Like everything should stop somewhere.”
Sagan began his worlds streak with the win in Richmond three years ago. In 2016, he defended in Doha and did it again one year later in Bergen. Even if the Innsbruck climbers’ parcours is too much, he will still lead Team Slovakia.
“It’s still far away and I don’t think [I] could be really competitive with real climbers in that parcours,” Sagan admitted.
Sagan will wear the blue, white, and red kit of Slovakia during the Sept. 30 event. His Bora-Hansgrohe teammates will race too. Lukas Pöstlberger will trade out the Austrian champ jersey to wear the national team colors.
“For the Austrian boys, we try to prepare them as well as possible, especially this year this year — [the worlds are] really close to Bora-Hansgrohe’s headquarters, only 80 kilometers away,” sport director André Schulze said.
“The whole team is motivated for it. It’s good to have Sagan there and in shape. Also, Peter wants to do his best as a three-time winner. The Vuelta is one of the best preparations for the worlds, given the parcours is so much climbing. The best preparation is here in the Vuelta.”
Schulze explained that the team will see how long Sagan will stay in the Vuelta. The mountains appear again starting Friday. Sagan, if he is to have his last chance as world champion, will have to strike soon.
• Movistar rider pips Peter Sagan to take his second stage • Rudy Molard still has 37-second lead over Valverde
Spain’s Alejandro Valverde grabbed a second stage win of this year’s Vuelta a España by pipping Peter Sagan to the finish line in a thrilling uphill sprint on Saturday to cut the gap behind overall leader Rudy Molard to 10 seconds.
1 Rudy Molard (FRA) Groupama 2 Alejandro Valverde (ESP) Movistar Team +37sec 3 Emanuel Buchmann (GER) BORA-hansgrohe +48 4 Simon Yates (GBR) Mitchelton-Scott +51 5 Tony Gallopin (FRA) AG2R La Mondiale +59 6 Michal Kwiatkowski (POL) Team Sky +1:06 7 Ion Izagirre (ESP) Bahrain-Merida +1:11 8 Nairo Quintana (COL) Movistar Team +1:14 9 Steven Kruijswijk (NED) Team LottoNL-Jumbo +1:18 10 Enric Mas (ESP) Quick-Step Floors +1:23 11 George Bennett (NZL) Team LottoNL-Jumbo +1:26 12 Miguel Ángel López (COL) Astana Pro Team +1:27
MÁLAGA, Spain (VN) — There’s something odd about this year’s Vuelta a España route — flat stages.
After a string of ever-more-demanding course designs, this year’s course sees nearly a half dozen stages apt for sprinters. Part of that is geography and how the Vuelta is back-loaded with most of the hard stages in the second half. In the first half of the race, there are days that are un-Vuelta flat. And a few them are flat as the plains of the realm of Don Quixote.
That’s just fine for Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe), who returns to the Vuelta for the first time since 2015. Still recovering from a high-speed crash in the Pyrénées during the Tour de France, the three-time world champion won’t mind a few days on the plains of Spain.
“I hope to win some stages,” Sagan said ahead of Saturday’s Vuelta start. “I am not at my best form yet.”
Sagan, 28, returns to the Vuelta in a quest to bolster his career haul of four stage wins, with the additional hope of honing his form ahead of the Innsbruck worlds.
On paper, the climb-heavy route in Austria doesn’t favor Sagan for what would be an unprecedented fourth consecutive world title, but last month Bora-Hansgrohe officials said he is going to “honor” the rainbow jersey to at least give it a stab.
The way Sagan was climbing during the Tour suggested he was taking the challenge more seriously than he had hinted. A very nasty crash in the Pyrénées changed all that. Sagan misjudged a corner and bounded off course in stage 17. He rode away with some heavy cuts and bruises, but he was lucky to avoid more serious injury.
“I am still not at 100 percent,” Sagan said referring to the Tour crash. “I’m hoping to be stronger.”
As the Vuelta has become progressively more difficult the past several editions, fewer and fewer sprinters have included it in their schedule. Sagan steered clear of the Vuelta over the past few years in part to chase WorldTour points at the Canadian one-days. He’s back this year and will see some competition in the bunch sprints.
The Vuelta can present easy pickings for a rider who boasts top finishing speed who normally wouldn’t be winning a typical bunch sprint against the fastest in the peloton. Last year, Matteo Trentin — who is more Peter Sagan than Mark Cavendish — won four stages.
This year’s route sees a few more chances than of late for the fast men in the bunch. Between a handfull of uphill punchier finales and flatter terrain, there could be as many as eight sprint scenarios depending on how much the bunch wants to control breakaways.
That’s a lot by recent Vuelta standards.
Elia Viviani (Quick-Step) is atop a still very thin list that also includes Trentin, Danny Van Poppel (LottoNL-Jumbo), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek-Segafredo) and Nacer Bouhanni (Cofidis).
For Sagan, the road to Innsbruck goes through the Vuelta. And having the colorful character back on Spanish roads is just what the Vuelta needed to help spice up those flat stages.