Comments from an alleged Peter Sagan “Twitter” account complaining of nagging stomach ailments and problems with Liquigas team doctors went viral this weekend across the Web, but the Slovak phenomenon says the words are not his.
Strongly worded comments allegedly attributed to the 20-year-old rookie prompted Liquigas to release a statement Sunday from Sagan denying those reports.
“I found myself in a case of stolen identity,” Sagan said Sunday. “The profile ‘petersagannews’ is not mine and it is not managed by anyone of my trust. I would like to state clearly and without possibility of misunderstanding there isn’t any problem between me and the medical staff of the team.”
A Twitter feed dubbed “petersagannews” was cited by several Web sites that Sagan was struggling with recurring stomach problems that derailed the second half of his dazzling rookie season and included comments that he was in disagreement with his Liquigas team doctors over treatments.
One alleged comment on ‘petersagannews’ posted on Sunday read as the following: “Sagan in dispute with Liquigas doctors: ‘They think they all the wisdom in the world. They try to change my eating habits by prescribing … food my body does not respond well to. Sagan is still on antibiotics recovering from stomach probs (sic) that plagued the 2nd half of his season.”
On Sunday, Sagan denied that he or anyone he works closely with is managing the Twitter feed.
“My trust [in Liquigas team doctors] is very strong. Everything stated in Twitter is totally false. I have never made these declarations and the words stated are the invention of some unknown person,” Sagan said. “I feel OK and I have recovered my strength after a very demanding season. I am ready to restart again.”
Liquigas team officials told VeloNews that they were surprised when they saw Web reports with the comments attributed to Sagan, an otherwise quiet and unassuming rider who lets his legs do the talking.
“It’s a big problem if a rider is criticizing the doctors like this, so we called Peter and asked him about this. He said it was a big fake and we thought it was important to clarify this story,” Liquigas team spokesman Paolo Barbieri told VeloNews on Sunday. “Peter said he did not know where these comments came from. We are working to have the profile closed down.”
Barbieri did confirm that some of the information on the Twitter feed was correct, however. Sagan did suffer stomach problems during a trip to Canada to race in two ProTour events there (where he finished second in the GP de Montréal), problems that carried over into the world championships in Australia.
“Everything is back to normal now,” Barbieri said. “We are not worried about this now.”
Sagan will join his Liquigas teammates Monday at a team camp in the Dolomites and then meet again next month to plan his 2011 racing schedule. Barbieri said Sagan will likely make a run at the northern classics and make a grand tour start next season.
In his rookie season in 2010, Sagan won two stages at Paris-Nice and two stages at the Tour of California as well as one stage at the Tour de Romandie along with second places at the GP de Montréal, Giro del Veneto and the Philadelphia International Championship.