Have you seen Peter Sagan?
ALLEZ - JV Araneta (The Freeman) - April 22, 2019 - 12:00am

The 5th edition of the  Bohol Black Saturday Road Race was a blast! The weather was opposite of what we had last year web it was raining cats and dogs and kitchen sinks. This time, it was raining sunshine all day long!

A lot of riders were of course concerned but when the race started, there was no complaining of the heat, especially with the race starting at 10am after an earlier time trial. Kudos goes to Pio Castro III and his crew, who managed to successfully run the event so well.

The occasion also helped as most of the traffic stayed away and people went to the beaches while waiting for Easter Sunday. I don’t have the full results right now but once I do, I’ll include it in next column.

Has anyone seen Peter Sagan?

Well, there were a few sightings but I have yet to see him cross the finish line in any of the spring classics. Sagan had only win this year, a barren result for one of the most prolific winners of professional cycling in this generation.

He was seen with a few winning moves during Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix but when push comes to shove, the Slovak would meekly submit to his fate. Is his divorce affecting his performance? Oh well, you can’t be god every year.

On the other hand, the Peter Sagan of ten years ago, Philippe Gilbert, won Paris-Roubaix in a war of attrition. Gilbert was my favorite rider when he was at the top pf his game but at age 36, I knew he was slowing down. His dearth of wins during his stint with team BMC was what I thought was portent of things to come but when he moved to Quick three years ago, he rediscovered his winning legs even if he wasn’t their top dog anymore. He was now part of the “Wolfpack”, a name the team riders call themselves to pro one teamwork and selflessness. It means working for others in the name of the team.

So when Gilbert thought that teammate Juan Alaphilippe had better legs than him during Milan-San Remo, he flung himself to work for his young teammate who of course won. During Paris-Roubaix, it was Yves Lampaert’s turn to help Gilbert. In this team, there are no leaders, only team riders willing to sacrifice for the goodness of the team. It may soon corny but so far it is working.

Alberto Bettiol is a rider you hardly knew. I saw him explode the race during Milan-San Remo but I never thought that he’d won the Tour of Flanders! A pro since 2014, Bettiol had never won anything as a pro and if it was me, I’d probably think of another career. Bettiol stayed true to his calling and when the Solar System aligned, he found himself winning one of the top three one day races on the world. Hows that for a first win in more than 4 years? Hopefully, Bettiol won’t be a “one-slam wonder” as John  McEnroe used to call Pat Rafter.

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