Freeman Cebu Sports

Peter Sagan vs the rest of the Peloton?

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

Peter Sagan is a superstar and the best cyclist in the world today. Yet, the Slovak has only crossed the finish line twice this year, and both races were in the early season win far away Australia!

Sagan’s talent is both a blessing and a curse. The Good Lord blessed him with speed, stamina, charisma and an overflowing dose of humor to go with it. But because is so good, his rivals tend to race negatively with him. Racing negatively means accepting a loss as long as Sagan also loses.

This has been going on for so many years now, but that was a time when other riders where still trying to figure him out. But now, they have figured him out and they realized that they can’t beat Sagan one on one but as a team.

Sagan has been nonchalant about it in the previous years but this year, he has started to show some cracks in his cool demeanor. Prior to the first monument, the Milan San Remo, he said that he was beaten by Mihai Kwiatkowski because Mihai just hid behind him during the sprint. Of course, why would the Pole bring the Slovak to the line when they have different employers?

When you are the best, then the only thing to do is to embrace the role. MJ and Kobe did. And so did Eddy Merckx and Lance Armstrong. But it seemed that while Sagan used to embrace his role, his team, BORA, is not. When Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara and Johan Museeuw, the three greats whose shoes Sagan is trying to wear, was racing, their teams surrounded them with riders capable of bringing them to the finale of a race. Between the three, they have 9 Tour of Flanders win and 10 Paris-Roubax’s after they retired, and these are the races that most pundits would say that is tailor-made for Sagan. Sagan, who was more precocious than any of the trio could only show one, the 2017 Tour of Flanders.

Of course, we all know that Sagan doesn’t need any domestique in any dash to the line since he is the best when it comes to finding the best spot for a sprint. But can you imagine if he had a lead-out train like Boonen’s?

Sagan’s biggest threat is not an individual but a team, QUICKSTEP(QS). Other than Philippe Gilbert, QS doesn’t have a superstar in their line-up after Boonen retired this year, but what they have is a sum greater than its parts. So when this “sum” goes up agains the best rider, in cycling, or in any team sport, the sum will always win.

This season BORA lured one of the best domestiques in the peloton today, Daniel Oss. While Oss is clearly doing his job, he doesn’t have enough firepower to level up with the QS riders. That’s why I find it alarming that BORA, a company that sells kitchen smoke extractor, is just content to sign Oss when clearly, when you have an investment line Sagan, should over-armed him  for battle.

I hope that BORA’s and Sagan’s 2018 season will not go up in smoke.

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