FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Peter Sagan — the three-time world champion and “most powerful cyclist” — rests only briefly before the 2018 season begins with the Tour Down Under. Trips to the tattoo parlor, court, and California are on Sagan’s agenda this winter.
The Slovakian on team Bora-Hansgrohe rolled to a stop after becoming the first cyclist ever to win three world titles in a row. He sprinted to the road race victory in Bergen, Norway, to cap off a nearly perfect 2017 season.
Next season is nearing quickly, with team camps beginning in December and Sagan’s first race scheduled to begin January 16.
“I’m excited to be starting the 2018 season with the rainbow stripes across my back again in Australia at the Santos Tour Down Under,” he told the Adelaide Advertiser.
The Australian WorldTour race was the start of Sagan’s successful 2017 run, which included 12 wins. He won in Belgium at the Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, in the Amgen Tour of California, in the Tour de France, and in Canada’s GP Québec.
“His power numbers are even better than last year,” his coach and Bora-Hansgrohe sport director Patxi Vila told VeloNews.
“We committed more to 2017 than last year. Peter put in the training to make the classics work and did the same for the Tour.”
Velon, a group set up by the teams to look after their interests, collected data through the year and named Sagan the most powerful sprinter of 2017. The data confirmed what Vila said. Sagan, during an 18-second period of the Tour of Suisse’s stage 5, produced an average of 1,220 watts. Over that time, he reached 76.2 kilometers an hour and peaked at 1,417 watts — enough to power a small space heater or an espresso machine.
Michael Albasini (Orica-Scott), second on that day at the Tour de Suisse, averaged 847 watts during that same period. Velon stacked up the sprinters and found only Colombian Fernando Gaviria (Quick-Step Floors) came close. In stage 13 of the Giro d’Italia, he averaged 1,098 watts and peaked at 1,478 in a 21-second dash to the win.
Fans, however, missed seeing Sagan’s massive power-surge sprints in the Tour de France. He won once, but failed to get far out of the gates or contend for a sixth green jersey due to an “irregular sprint” in stage 4 on July 4 that saw him get disqualified and Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) crash with a broken shoulder blade.
Bora-Hansgrohe pleaded with the UCI jury and appealed to the CAS, the highest court in sports, but the team was ultimately forced to continue in the Tour without its multi-million-dollar star. Sagan’s right elbow popped out as Cavendish darted up the right side, but he said he “didn’t do something wrong in the sprint.”
The CAS listed about 20 cases last week that it plans to hear over the next month, including one on December 5: Sagan and Bora-Hansgrohe vs. the UCI. The team will argue that its star never had a say in the decision and that it lost precious publicity with what it says was the wrong call.
The hearing will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland, and could see Sagan testify to the panel on the incident. It would slot into a busy rest period that saw him and his wife welcome the birth of their baby boy Marlon last month.
Sunday night, Sagan posted a video on Twitter of him putting needle to a tattoo artist’s right thigh. He wrote the caption, “I hope the tattoo my friend will do on me will be better than the one I’m doing on him…”
Sagan will also travel from his base in Monaco to California later in November to join the #SonomaPride ride through the areas affected by recent wildfires.
Sagan and his team will ride with the big goals of 2018 in mind. He wants to win one of the monuments again, either Milano-Sanremo, the Tour of Flanders, or Paris-Roubaix. This year, he said teams rode against him. Making it worse, he crashed in Flanders and punctured at less-than-ideal moments during Roubaix.
“We all get used to the success of Peter, but it’s not fair because it’s so hard to win,” Vila added. “With all the lights on you, you have to do everything perfectly, otherwise you don’t win. The best we can do is be 100 percent and see how the race goes.”