More Tour de France 2012 Thoughts: Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan
Peter Sagan (Photo credit: Brendan A Ryan)

One huge star of this year’s race that I didn’t get into detail about in my first review is Peter Sagan. This rider has so much talent that calling him a star of the future doesn’t do him justice. He’s a star right now. To come into your first Tour de France and not only win your first road stage in convincing fashion, but then to end up with 3 stage wins, one of them on the flat against Matt Goss, runner up in the world’s last year and a great top-level sprinter, as well as the injured Andre Greipel, who fell twice earlier on that stage. It was an incredible debut Tour for Peter Sagan.

There was a slight bit of controversy though that could have tainted his domination of the points competition, and that was when Goss was heavily penalised for seeming to cut across on Sagan when they were sprinting for the minor placings and remaining points on a breakaway stage. Not only did the commiseurs switch the positions in the stage result, but they also docked Goss extremely heavily. A very harsh punishment in my opinion, as it all but put him out of the Green Jersey race. However, luckily it proved to be irrelevant as Sagan romped away from all of his rivals on the following stages, getting into breakaways to mop up points and at one point even surprising his fellow escapees by getting over a tough climb and only being denied the stage win by a very smart and opportunistic Luis Leon Sanchez. The Rabobank rider attacked the group right as Sagan was starting to take on a gel. After that the stage was gone as the rest of the group made him do all of the work to catch Sanchez and it wasn’t possible. Nevertheless, he still duly won the sprint for second place, effectively sealing the points classification.

If just to put the final exclamations on it, he finished 3rd in the penultimate sprint stage won emphatically by Cav, and then overtook Matt Goss just before the line on the Champs Elysees to get second, underlining his explosive speed even in the fastest of bunch finishes.

And finally, you can’t mention Peter Sagan’s stunning TdF debut without mentioning his victory celebrations. Some have accused him of being arrogant but I totally disagree. He’s certainly confident but you have to be that way to win in this type of environment. It’s clear to me that he’s just a born entertainer. He wants to give the fans something to enjoy and have fun with and he’s definitely done that. Seeing him do the run forest run celebration, and then watching his post race interview, you can’t help but laugh and smile with him. You need personalities in sport and he should be encouraged to keep being the way he is, and he’ll be a fan favourite for many years to come.


The Cycling Signing Season

BMC Racing Team mars 2010
Image via Wikipedia

This is the time of year in many sports where rumours of signings and team changing goes into overdrive, and cycling is no exception. It’s pretty exciting to speculate and see all of these moves being made, new teams coming and and existing teams merging.

Of course, things are made more interesting because of the very sad demise of the best team in the sport, HTC Highroad. All of their talented roster has to find a new home and that’s no easy task when there may end up being less spots available due to their not being as many pro-tour teams next season.

The biggest moves so far have undoubtedly been made by BMC. They’ve re-signed Cadel evans and George Hincapie, which also lead to the signings of reigning world champion Thor Hushovd and friend and former team-mate of Evans and the rider of the year in most people’s eyes, Philippe Gilbert. You would have been forgiven for thinking that they were finished signing riders at that point, but instead they flashed the cash further and signed two current HTC Highroad riders Marco Pinotti and one of my favourite riders, Tejay Van Garderen.

It’s a strange feeling, because as much as I’m a huge HTC Highroad fan (I also own and proudly wear a jersey when I’m out riding), you can’t help but be excited by what it’s demise will do to shake up the sport for next year. Will Cavendish finally be announced at Sky along with his right hand man Bernie Eisel as well as current team-mate Matt Goss. How will Mark Renshaw fare on his own as the designated sprinter at Rabobank and will talented riders like Tony Martin, who just signed for QuickStep and Tejay Van Garderen now get a chance to shine in new teams where they’re not working for the world’s best sprinter most of the time and sacrificing their own potential for a team strategy? I’m excited to find out about all of these and before we get to 2012 we’ve got plenty more rider moves to look forward to in the coming weeks.