Who am I? In the world of cycling, nobody. I enjoy cycling. It is a big part of my life. I ride between 150-200 miles a week, sometimes more and have just added racing to the mix. There are many people in the world of cycling who have forgotten more than I will ever know, but surely Bora Hansgrohe has someone who can tell the World Champion where is making his mistake. Yes, it is the same mistake over and over . . . and will only get worse, once other riders in the professional peloton begin capitalizing on the mistake when it happens again. The strongest rider is not always the winner. The special solution that will solve Peter’s problem? STAY WITH THE PELOTON.
I know. The breakaway is a gamble. The breakaway works sometimes. The idea of “go for it, get caught, do not get caught” is a definite strategy of racing in general, but there is a crucial factor: the group must work together. No one is going to help the strongest rider in the world. Why would they? Peter Sagan is a threat. He is a threat in the group. He is a threat in a breakaway. He is a threat at the starting line. I am also not ignorant to the fact that one-day races have to be handled differently, but what are the odds of the breakaway working? It is slim and largely depends on the amount of riders in the break. Peter needs to remain with the main group, close the distance with his team, and then go full gas at the end. I know that it is NOT that simple. There are so many contributing factors. But at this point, a team cannot go with what is NOT working.
Getting into a person’s head has been a great strategy for nearly every sport for years and years. Frustrating your opponent causes him to make a mistake, like exerting when he should be saving his energy. As anyone can tell in this video, Peter is getting frustrated. He can pretend like it is no big deal, but he possesses too strong of a competitive spirit to not let it bother him. After all, it is no secret that Peter Sagan is my favorite professional, but there is NO WAY that I would help him save his energy in a race. When he gave me the elbow flick, I would be shaking my head too and feigning exhaustion while I stuck to his wheel like glue.
“Work smarter not harder” should be the goal of Bora Hansgrohe. There are not many people in the world who can hold Sagan’s wheel when he goes full gas, after saving his strength all day. The days of hiding in the group are over. Sagan seems to be a likable guy, and other riders seem to like him, but the racing is racing. Riders know where the rainbow jersey is at all times. No race is the same. Strategies change in a moment’s notice, but the one where Peter Sagan pulls for 5k at full gas to the end is not a smart choice. Hopefully, Ralph Denk will convince the team to pull something new on the peloton.