Peter Sagan takes the ‘Proust Questionnaire’
Who does the three-time world champion most admire? What makes him happiest? And what qualities does he most value in others?
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Some champions are bigger than life. And they are bigger than the races they have won or lost. Peter Sagan is obviously one such champion.
But champions are still individuals with interests and values. For generations, the “Proust Questionnaire” — a personality quiz dating back to the 19th century — has proved to be a wonderful way to scratch behind the surface of an individual. And we were only too happy to sit down with Sagan as he talked about the greatest love of his life, overrated virtues, and his own flaws.
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VeloNews: What is your idea of happiness?
Peter Sagan: Oh that’s easy. A day with my son Marlon!
VN: What is your biggest fear?
PS: Oh that’s not so easy. If you are scared of things then you don’t do them. If I was scared of crashing for example, then I would never go out and ride my bike. We are so vulnerable every day of our life, so it is better not to focus on that. If you focus on fear, you just produce stress and eventually you own auto-destruction. I have crashed many times, but I cannot allow myself to think about that when I am descending. And I cannot think about all of the risks I take in a sprint. I just have to focus on one thing in those situations. I think the most important thing is to be healthy. And that makes it much easier to deal with the hardships.
VN: What person living or dead do you most admire?
PS: Oh that’s another hard one. Perhaps Jesus Christ. He is a living person and part of the past.
VN: What is your strongest characteristic?
PS: I think it is that I am honest with myself. I do first what I think is right to do. You can make good decisions and bad decisions in life. But if you are honest with yourself, you can learn from the consequences of bad decisions and not make them again. If you always blame others when things go wrong you will just continue to make the same mistakes, so I think it is important to be honest with yourself.
VN: What is your greatest extravagance?
PS: I consider myself an artist and I live like an artist!
VN: What is the most overrated virtue?
PS: Fame! So many people want to become famous. But many people, once they reach fame, just want to return and have a normal life. And that is very hard to do.
VN: What do you most dislike about your appearance?
PS: I don’t know. Maybe I am perfect haha ! No seriously, you are how you are. It is best to accept how you are. Obviously, you can do plastic surgery. But if I haven’t done that I guess it is because I am okay with myself.
VN: What quality do you most like in a person?
PS: Honesty, I think. It is important for me that I can trust the people around me. I need to know that they are being honest, that they are real and not fake.
VN: Who is the greatest love of your life?
PS: My son Marlon.
VN: When were you happiest?
PS: The moment Marlon was born. That was just a very special feeling that I had never had in my life. That is a day I will never forget.
VN: What talent would you most like to have had?
PS: Well I always wanted to be an actor. But life took me in another direction.
VN: What is your greatest achievement?
PS: Well on a bike I would say my three world championships. But in life, it is definitely Marlon. He just has this ability to make me happy when I am with him.
VN: If you were going to die and come back as something else what would it be?
PS: Well I don’t believe in this, but just for fun I would say some sort of super-being like Superman or something.
VN: What is your most treasured possession?
PS: I am not very materialistic. Sure I am happy to wear special things sometimes, but I don’t really have a sentimental attachment to them. My most treasured possession would once again be Marlon.
VN: What trait or characteristic do you most dislike about yourself?
PS: I think that it is very hard for me to say no.
VN: What trait or characteristic do you most value in others?
PS: Honestly. When you are young you have lots of friends … but with time you understand who your friends really are … I actually like to say that I don’t have friends … I just have family. My real friends are my family!