Peter Sagan, in Richmond (Virginia), in the United States, where he obtained the first of his three world champion titles, on September 27, 2015. BRYN LENNON / AFP
Efficient and whimsical. Peter Sagan, one of the most unique personalities in the professional peloton, bids farewell to road cycling on Sunday October 1, during the Tour de Vendée. Professional since 2009, the 33-year-old Slovak has built up an unusual track record, which includes three world champion titles (2015, 2016, 2017), twelve stage victories and seven times green jersey (a record) on the Tour de France and successes in the most prestigious classics (Tour of Flanders 2016, Paris-Roubaix 2018).
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A daredevil sprinter also capable, during part of his career, of accompanying punchers on hills placed near the finish lines, Sagan accumulated 121 victories during his fourteen seasons as a professional runner. Its ability to assert itself on all terrains, mountains aside, made it a scarecrow for its opponents for many years. Compared to the legends of the peloton when he was young, he repeated several times during his career his wish to be considered the « premier Peter Sagan » rather than the « second Eddy Merckx ».
With uncommon dexterity on a bike – a legacy of his years of training in cyclo-cross and mountain biking – the Slovak had the ability to put on a show, even when he was no longer in the race for victory. During the 2019 Tour de France, he was filmed signing his book to a spectator while riding, in the middle of a mountain stage.
In fourteen years of professionalism, Sagan has known six different teams. Since 2022, he has worn the colors of the French team TotalEnergies, with which he has never managed to obtain brilliant results. “Two victories [une étape du Tour de Suisse et un championnat de Slovaquie] for us, it’s not much, but I have too much respect for him to paint a negative portrait of him”said Benoît Génauzeau, one of the sports directors of the Vendée team, Sunday October 1, In The team.
Mountain biking, his first love
After suffering from a long Covid in 2022 and making a few appearances in the news section following alcoholic nights out in Monaco, his place of residence, Sagan was nothing more than the shadow of the serial winner that he was. “He no longer takes pleasure: I frankly feel him exhausted, at the end of his rope, affirms Jean-René Bernaudeau, the boss of the TotalEnergies team, in The team. This guy has had so much pressure, demands and people gravitating around him for so many years… All of this has worn him down. The spring is broken. »
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Sagan, for his part, would like to treat himself to one last thrill in competition by returning to his first love, mountain biking, during the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Qualifying for the event will not be an easy task, facing specialists in the discipline in their prime. But Sagan is not the first rockstar to take on this kind of ultimate challenge. If he fails, he will then have plenty of time to devote himself to the hotel he plans to open in Slovakia.
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