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The Best Things We’d Like to Adopt from Peter Sagan

By Adam Marsal

If you ask your non-cycling friends about the greatest cyclists of all time, only a few of them would name Eddy Merckx, Miguel Indurain or Chris Froome. Most of them, however, would recall Peter Sagan that became a favourite celebrity even beyond the cycling community. These are the things any cyclist might learn from him.

Keeps his word

When the route of the 2020 Giro d’Italia was presented last fall in Milan, Sagan promised to take part this year for the very first time in his career. “You’ll see me there,” he said back then expecting to squeeze the race across Italy between the Cycling Monuments and the Tour de France. But then the coronavirus stroke and tore all the plans to pieces. The 2020 UCI calendar failed to exist. When the new race plan was revealed after the lockdown relief, the start of the Tour was set not later but 12 days after the Giro should have been finished. Moreover, the Giro was scheduled so it coincided with this year’s monuments. It could have been easy for Sagan to excuse himself and say sorry to the Italians but he didn’t do that. Therefore, it will be his first absence from the monuments since 2009 but we will see him racing the 42 stages of the Giro and the Tour within only 58 days instead. Our fingers will be crossed.

Stays entertaining

Be it the Wolf of the Wall Street while doing an interview for the media or passing across the finish line in Forrest Gump-like fashion, Sagan seems to be a master of movie character impersonation. You can find him in videos where he’s pulling off a hard training session like Rocky Balboa or dancing with his wife in the famous Grease movie cover of You’re The One That I Want. “My life is like from a movie,” he says on a video depicting his homeland, Slovakia, which is undoubtedly true yet, on top of that, he brings a lot from the movies to his life too just to make us laugh.

Exceptional bike-handling skills

Apart from many other skills, Sagan’s bike handling is legendary. No matter if he’s overtaking a peloton, holding a perfect position on the road bike with his chest pushing on the handlebars to reduce aerodynamic drag, riding on the front wheel, skipping over the traffic refuges, skidding sideways in full speed, turning wild in switchbacks, jumping up a stairway or performing wheelies even with both of his feet off pedals – every second Sagan spends on the bike, he always seems to maintain it with the ease of a wizard. This ability makes him rather a free-minded downhill community member than an ascetic road cyclist. Do his competitors possess similar skills? Even if they do, they don’t seem tempted to show them in public so far.

Takes it easy

With his motto ‘Why so serious’ tattooed on his right-hand side, Sagan said life is too short to be taken seriously. Even though success in professional cycling is redeemed by pain and suffering, Peter has either never felt any or managed to hide them convincingly. Instead of a sport of a treacherous pain, he prefers to present cycling as funny leisure, which includes him crossing the finish line in a no-handed wheelie, flapping with the peak of Froome’s casquette in front of the cameras or acting in a commercial where he takes up Grandma Joan’s challenge to join the race of the World’s greatest cyclist.

Unlike most of his rivals, Peter’s never been bothered by fans asking for an autograph even if it happened in the middle of a tough climbing during a Tour de France stage. You can barely seem him disappointed after he finished closely second, third or fourth. Even when something goes wrong, Peter just says there are more important things in life than seconds he lost on a track. Where others are making deals with the devil and aim solely for the results like pre-programmed machines, Peter stays a human being in the first place, which gained him hearts of thousands of fans around the world.