Procycling

PETER SAGAN’S LAST HURRAH

- ADAM BECKET STA F F W R I T E R

There are so many transfers at this time of year that it can be hard to keep track. UAE Team Emirates’ activity will be sure to attract many column inches, just like on the other side of this page, but a move that has caught my attention more than others is that of Peter Sagan. The three-time world champion will be moving to Team TotalEnerg­ies after five years with Bora- Hansgrohe. In those five years, the Slovakian won five Tour de France stages, the green jersey twice, Paris- Roubaix, and the final one of his three world championsh­ip wins. It was a successful time at the German team, but during his time there Bora went from the Peter Sagan vehicle to genuine all-rounders, boasting a lineup that can challenge at most races. Sagan himself has been part of that developmen­t, helping the team up into the WorldTour in the first place, and then their establishm­ent as a force. However, Bora no longer need Sagan as much as he needs them, and so one of the great riders of the last decade faces the ignominy of moving down a rung to a ProTour team. Of course, he has made all the right noises about wanting to be part of a project and moving them up. Yet the truth is that Sagan is not the rider of five years ago: he has been winning less each year. Although this year’s three wins put him at an advantage over 2020, he is still behind his 2019 total of four. Results like that will be valuable at TotalEnerg­ies, but it is unlikely he can foment a revolution at the French team. Specialize­d, his long-term bike sponsor who have been with him since his Tinkoff days, is sticking with Sagan in the move. Clearly they think there are continued marketing opportunit­ies to be had there. Long term team-mates Daniel Oss, Maciej Bodnar and his brother Juraj also make the move. Aside from the Tour de France, where he will surely gain a wildcard for the team, it could be a time out in the wilderness for the rider. It’s some way from the man who never looked like giving up the green jersey.

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