Today we come to an amazing rider who deserves tons of respect and not just for his record. Peter Sagan who ranks 5th along with Bernard Hinault in this ranking has been so much more to cycling than an exceptionally good cyclist for the past 13 years.

Peter Sagan
First name: Peter
Last name: Sagan
Nationality: Slovakia
Age: 34 years old
Date of birth: 26-01-1990
Place of birth: Zilina (Zilina), Slovakia

Peter Sagan has just said goodbye as an active road cyclist. With this, the peloton is losing the prototype of the modern and future cyclist. With a total of 121 UCI victories, 7x green jersey in the Tour with which he is the absolute record holder, 3x world champion, 1x win in Tour of Flanders, 1x Paris-Roubaix, 3 x Gent-Wevelgem, 1x E3 Prijs Harelbeke, 1x GP Montreal and 2x GP Quebec, he has just concluded one of the most impressive careers of the 21st century.

What is good comes fast

Even from youth, Sagan proved to be very versatile. He was very successful in cyclocross, mountain biking and road cycling. In 2008, for example, he became Slovak road and cyclocross champion in the juniors, as well as European and world mountain bike champion. After barely a season in the U23s, he switched to the pros at the age of 19. And yes, what’s good comes fast. Peter had only turned 20 when he immediately won two stages in Paris-Nice in 2010.

Fromme en Sagan (left) © Ruud de Backer

His first Tour in 2012

When Sagan started his first Tour de France, he was still a 22-year-old relatively unknown Slovakian cyclist. At that time, it was Mark Cavendish who was still plenty the master of the sprint. But already in the second stage he won the uphill sprint after a hilly stage. Two days later he won again, by riding the other punchers loose from the wheel on the sloping finish line. From then on he never let go of the green jersey and even consolidated his position by winning the bunch sprint in Metz on stage six. His run of seven green jerseys – interrupted only by an exclusion in the 2017 Tour – had taken off in phenomenal fashion.

Afterwards, he managed to win nine more stages bringing his total stage wins in the Tour to 12. He also won two stages in the Giro and four stages in the Vuelta. He was also quick to bingo in the classics. In 2013, he won his first Gent-Wevelgem. In that race, he would still be on the top step in 2016 and 2018 as well. In 2016, he also won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, he wrote in 2018. But perhaps his most impressive run was winning three world titles in a row 2015, 2016 AND 2017. This put him in line with Rik Van Steenbergen, Eddy Merckx and Oscar Freire, however, none of them could capture the three titles in a row.

Showman on two wheels

In addition to his great palmares, Peter Sagan will be remembered above all as a real showman on two wheels. Entertaining was therefore his driving force. He became a unique figure who in his way knew no predecessor through the combination of top performance and entertainment. In terms of marketing, dealing with the press, sponsors and playing to the public, he was a trendsetter. Just think of his victory gestures, jokes and think-throughs to bring up a topic. Early in his career, some saw in Sagan a second Merckx, which – with all due respect to the Slovak – was still a bit too high praise. Sagan was very level-headed about that, too. His answer to questions along those lines was invariably, “I don’t want to be the second Eddy Merckx. I want to be the first Peter Sagan,” something he then also succeeded in with verve. Peter Sagan will forever be one of the most attractive riders in history.

Comparison with Evenepoel

Sagan was an exceptional figure who could not be compared to anyone. However, what we can learn from the palmares below is that Remco Evenepoel accumulated 50 more points than Sagan at that age. In our opinion, that just goes to show how strong Evenepoel’s performance was at that age. That Peter Sagan will continue as a mountain biker for a while longer is bliss for all sports fans. That way we can enjoy the exceptional talent and technical skills of this top athlete for a while longer.


Text: Patrick Van Gansen

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