Peter Sagan had announced his retirement from pro cycling but we will still be able to see him throughout the 2024 season. The former World champion will race for the RRK Group - Pierre Baguette - Benzinol team and aim for the MTB Olympic Games, and the Slovakia looks back on his career.
He was asked if he had ever aimed to go for the Tour de France. “Ah well, I never had that in my head. I was already doing a lot of sacrificing for cycling. Why change something that is working well? If I have to go for a Grand Tour, I have to lose eight, nine, 10 kilos… I prefer to have three world championships than one Tour de France," Sagan told Bicycing. A rockstar and a rider of a generation. Sagan won 7 green jerseys, 3 consecutive World Championship titles, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders and over 100 pro wins alongside constant attention. A rider that comes once a generation, and his legacy will last in cycling's history books.
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The big win that he hasn't added to his palmarès was Milano-Sanremo, a race where he was the main favourite several times but didn't get all the pieces of the puzzle in place on the right day. “If you are super good, Flanders and Roubaix, you can win because of the legs. And you don’t win Milano-Sanremo because of the legs. I lost it a lot of times when I was the best on the day.” Tactics and being the marked man hampered him, as was the case all throughout his career - because of his strong spring. Despite this he was able to build an incomparable career.
But in recent years, despite keeping similar numbers, he was no longer able to race alongside the best. "I think the general group level has grown. Before, it was individuals: I am strong, you are strong, and three or four of us are going to fight in the final. Now, all the group is going fast. That’s the thing. The power of the peloton, everybody is at the same level.” And that level is extremely high. Sagan battled alongside the likes of Greg van Avermaert and Sep Vanmacke for example, who also struggled to perform in the cobbled classics in the late years of their career.
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Sagan also commented on the doping tests in the long feature, detailing the amount of procedures that the riders go through throughout the season, even though he admits that he is tested less than in his prime years, 6 or 7 times at home but over 50 times during races: “Even thinking about that is just stupid now because [the testers] have been [at the hotel]," the report explained. "You have an app to say where you’re sleeping every night. Under this system, it’s stupid to risk something, because you’d lose everything."