I still disagree with most folks. You knew this post was coming. After watching the first stage of the Amgen Tour of California, I allowed time for all I that watched and heard to soak in and marinate over night. It is still my belief that, if the pattern continues, Peter Sagan will be a GC rider for a team, one day. Yes, I recall what Lance Armstrong told me, but I cannot let it go. Riders like Sagan rarely come along. With every single rider of any professional peleton being an exceptional cyclist, there are a handful that stand out. Peter is one of those. He’s truly special. Long time trials and mountainous stages of grand tours are his cryptonite? Everyone has weak areas of their game, but what is hold up about being all-in on Peter Sagan? Oh sure, he has millions of fans. He’s loved by his his team and fellow riders, but broaching the subject of being a Grand Champion is avoided or dismissed altogether.
In yesterday’s stage of the Tour of California, the finish was extraordinary. What made it so? Two things: patience and power. Watch the final kilometers again. It is chaos in the front of the field, and Sagan is patiently slipping through the pack and positioning himself. When the sprint for the finish begins, it appears as if Sagan missed the jump. Nope. Knowing himself, he launches past Wouter Wippert and Michael Sheehan with what appears to be relative ease. He crosses the line with a typical coolness that only Sagan can pull off. Even Wippert throws his hand toward Sagan in a “of course it’s Sagan” kind of gesture. To answer the title to this post, it is no. It is NOT that easy, but here is the rub: when any professional athlete (pick any sport) can make something that is very difficult look really easy, it demonstrates the mind-blowing skill of that person’s talent.
I still get some eye rolls when discussing this with my friends on a group ride. Maybe I am waaaaay off base and am only wishfully thinking and seeing what I am seeing through rose-colored glasses. Yes, riders like Lance know a ton more about the sport than I, but I need someone to explain it to me. If you don’t think he could eventually be the GC of a UCI team, please tell me specifically why not. Wiggins can transform himself from a heavy, Olympic track rider to a grand tour winner and back again, so why not Sagan. The tools are obviously there. Lose weight? Sure. Train differently? Maybe. Many of you almost blacked out because I dropped Wiggins’s and Sagan’s name into the same sentence, but would you not say that both men are special riders? Yes, Wiggo has proved himself in many fields to be one of the best ever, but Sagan has accomplished quite a lot in his young years. How far and where could he take his talent that is still young and malleable? Team Sky is the limit . . . err . . . I mean the sky is the limit.