We are now in the Sagan era. On Sunday, the Slovakian rider won the rainbow jersey for the second year running to continue his phenomenal run of victories that began in Richmond, VA in 2015. So as a little treat for all you Sagan fans out there, here is a recap of his Rainbow Year, including tweets and photos from Sunday’s race.
Who can forget Peter’s magnificent win in Richmond – he picked his moment, the peloton missed it and they never saw him again until it was done and dusted. Here are the last 5km of that race to enjoy again!
Not only did he win with panache, but he celebrated at the finish with aplomb. Not content to just give the victory salute, he got off his bike and started walking back into the peloton as they arrived at the finish, where delighted riders high-fived him. I *so love* that! He was a popular win with the fans *and* the peloton. Chapeau!
Sagan was certainly maturing as a rider but he was also maturing as a man. In November, he exchanged his champion’s jersey for a wedding coat that made him look like a character out of Tolstoy. One thing is for sure, Peter and Katarina’s children are going to have fantastic hair!
Peter started the season with a couple seconds – before he got to the top step in the spring, he would rack up eight second places since Richmond. He was 2nd in Omloop, in Tirreno-Adriatico (losing by 1 second to Greg Van Avermaet) but picked up the points jersey, and was 2nd in E3 Harelbeke. But all the naysayers – I’m lookin’ at you, Oleg – had to eat their words when Sagan hit the jackpot with a first in Gent-Wevelgem, the first time a reigning world champion had won this race since 1962. Pictured below, congratulations from Tom Boonen on Peter’s GW victory.
He also finally got the monkey off his back – or should we say the Monument off his back – by breaking away in the last 14kms to solo to the finish line at the Tour of Flanders. He basically did a Cancellara on Fabian Cancellara himself, who came in second in the final Flanders of his career. It truly felt as though the torch was passed on that day (pictured below).
Summer of Sagz
The Sagan Appeal™ seems to know no borders, knows no language barriers and knows no limits. Arguably the most popular rider in the current peloton, he is always in the midst of fans, signing autographs and taking pictures (pictured below), at the end of races. Tour of California was no different – Americans seem to love him as much as Europeans do. He kept to his winning ways by taking stage 1 (and the leader’s jersey) and stage 4 of Cali as well as winning the overall points jersey – a jersey he pretty much owns, having won it six out of the last seven years and holding the record for most days in the jersey at 35. (Mark Cavendish is second on that list with 18 days …)
Sagan then went on to the Tour de Suisse, taking the first two stages to set the record for most stage wins with lucky 13. His preparation race seemed to stand him in good stead for his 2016 Tour de France campaign. While last year, he didn’t win a stage (although he had five second places) and a lot of people were thinking that with Marcel Kittel and Cav in the race, Sagan might not cross that finish line first this year either. Luckily, he didn’t listen to any of them and he took stage 2 (wearing the yellow jersey until the end of stage 4), stage 11 and stage 16. He also won the points classification for the fifth consecutive year (having taken it off the back of Cav on stage 10 and never letting it go after that) and won the overall Super-combativity award. Below is a nifty little carousel of TdF photos…
Ever philosophical, he had this to say about his first year in the maillot jaune: “If I lose yellow, I have green. If I lose green, I have the rainbow jersey.”
His season end was as eventful as the beginning of his season, winning the European Road Race Champion (stars above!!!) and the GP de Quebec (with a 2nd in GP de Montreal) before going to Doha to reclaim the rainbow stripes, and ending the year at the top of the World Tour with 669 points (609 pts for Quintana, 564 for Froome).
Here are the final KMs of yesterday’s race:
One wonders how he’s going to top this year but, knowing Sagan, 2017 will be better than ever.
Grease is the word
And throughout it all, he has kept his sense of humour …
Header image: ©Velocast