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Rider of the week

A big win has eluded Peter Sagan for a couple of years now. Ever since turning pro, he was destined to greatness, but he seemed to miss on the big opportunities, as was the case in Milan-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders or Tour de France stages. He had all that it took to land a memorable victory, but for some reason the pieces of the puzzle never came together, and this situation led to seeds of doubt being planted in his mind and developing into a huge frustration which eventually put its tool for some time on his ride and results.

Besides that and the criticism coming from his team’s owner, people were starting to question the Slovak’s ability to go all the way in a 250 km-long race and began to dub him the “Perennial Second”. Things didn’t change after the first half of the season, inspite of his Tour of California win, the main reason being his near misses in the same Spring Classics and the Grande Boucle, but a more than encouraging sign came in the Vuelta a España, where he scored a stage victory and showed to be at a very high level, before being taken out by a TV moto.

Coming into the World Championships, Peter Sagan was seen as one of the biggest contenders for the rainbow jersey on the technical and inner-city road circuit of Richmond, despite the fact he had only two teammates and that his best result in the race was a sixth place, at the 2013 edition, in Firenze. But this time, in contrast to other events in which he started as a top favourite, he had a different approach, more commonly known in the peloton as the “ninja strategy”: the 25-year-old stayed “invisible” all day long, but always in the top 20, without chasing the attacks of others and spending his energy in futile actions.

Then, in the final lap, he pounced on the penultimate ascent of the day – the cobbled 185 m-long 23rd Street – and got clear from the pack, leaving behind the only two riders who tried to join him, Edvald Boasson Hagen (the 2012 runner-up) and Belgium’s Greg Van Avermaet. Pushing hard in the closing kilometers and never looking back, Sagan managed to increase his lead and hold off the frantic chase, before enjoying his biggest triumph up-to-date, one that he was waiting for too long and which will give a whole new dimension to his career.

After storming to this impressive and spectacular win, which proved he is more mature and down to earth than he was in his first seasons as a pro, Peter Sagan will now have to deal with the huge pressure the world title will bring next year, when he is going to try and earn his place in the elite club of world champions who haven’t been touched by the “rainbow jersey curse”.

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6 thoughts on “Rider of the week

  1. Asa cum ai spus si tu in sfarsit a priceput si el care e strategia in cursele astea lungi de-o zi.
    Pe de alta parte Valverde nu se dezminte si vine iarasi printre primii.

  2. Hm, o cursa pe care ar fi putut s-o castige oricine, sincer. Sunt multe de spus insa ma axez doar pe ultima catarare si apoi acea coborare lunga care nu stiu ce-a fost in mintea celorlalti ( exceptie Stybar si Dege care au atacat dar mult prea incet 😀 ) de l-au lasat sa se duca pe coborare unde cu totii stim ca este AS la acest capitol. Ori n-au mai avut nimic in rezervor ori se asteptau toti la un sprint masiv dar daca nici acolo nu ataci decisiv, atunci unde ?
    S-au pacalit, nu era Sagan in acea forma precum Krstoff in primavara incat sa de-a cu toti de pamant dar i-a iesit atacul si odata scapat pe coborare nu am mai avut nici un dubiu ca va mai putea fi prins. Acest tricou va pune o si mai mare presiune pe Sagan in sezonul ce va veni.

    Pacat ca s-a omis duelul ptr celelalte locuri, slaba transmisiunea exact pe final dar ptr americani doar locul 1 si show-ul de moment conteaza.

    Am mers pe Ian Stannard.

    • Pe coborare Sagan a luat pozitia aia de aerodinamica si tot pedala, in schimb cei din spate se codeau si faceau opturi numai sa nu duca pe altii in carca. Nu pot sa inteleg de ce se feresc atata de munca. De parca evadase vreun neica nimeni si erau siguri ca-l prind. Acum sa mai astepte inca un an pentru o noua sansa. S-au chinuit ~250 km si la sfarsit au dat cu bata-n balta ca Valverde cu Purito in 2013.

      • Desi se alearga pe echipe nationale, multe dintre acestea sunt dezbinate (vezi Australia). Altele, cum a fost Germania, s-au consumat pana atunci si si-au lasat liderul singur pe final, in vreme ce alti ciclisti (Edvald Boasson Hagen) au hotarat sa isi astepte capitanul, desi se aflau intr-o pozitie excelenta pentru o medalie.

    • Sunt de acord, foarte multi ar fi putut sa castige, dar pana la urma s-a impus cel mai puternic (totodata, unul dintre cei mai buni rutieri din acest sezon). Tricoul va aduce presiune, dar si o supraveghere constanta din partea adversarilor. Sagan s-a mai confruntat cu asta pana acum si de multe ori s-a descurcat bine. De aceasta data, insa, va fi testul suprem.

      Da, americanii au dat-o in bara de multe ori cu calitatea imaginilor TV. Au ratat momente importante si nu au pus grafica atunci cand era mai mare nevoie de ea.

  3. lucian stănescu on said:

    ”Pushing hard in the closing kilometers and never looking back, Sagan managed to increase his lead” he did in fact look back a few times 🙂

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