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Peter Sagan on move to TotalEnergies: ‘The team showed respect for me’

Three-time world champion reveals that attitude of Jean-René Bernaudeau during negotiations helped convince him to join the French second-tier team.

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Peter Sagan has provided new details on his deal to move to French second-tier team TotalEnergies for 2022.

In an interview with L’Equipe, the three-time world champion said the French outfit was most enthusiastic about his high-profile departure from Bora-Hansgrohe.

“Several teams were interested, but the team of [manager Jean-René] Bernaudeau showed the most respect for me. They really wanted me and they demonstrated it all the time,” Sagan told L’Equipe. “Every time we had a question, they responded immediately. Sometimes it took weeks for others.”

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For 2022, Sagan will leave the WorldTour in the move to Team TotalEnergies, run by French stalwart Jean-René Bernaudeau, which races in the ProTeam level.

That means Sagan will need invitations to race the Tour de France and most of the major races on his to-do list, but it’s not likely to be a worry with the heft he brings to the team.

“We are going to build a team around me and this is what attracts me to the project. It’s pressure, sure, but it’s just been my routine for a long time,” he said. “It was no different with my old teams.

“When I joined Bora-Hansgrohe in 2016, people also spoke of it as a small team,” he continued. “The real question concerning TotalEnergies is not knowing what kind of team it is at the time I speak to you, but what path it intends to take. I don’t care that they’re not currently on the World Tour, I want to help it grow.”

Sagan also said he liked Bernaudeau’s attitude, and promised to take French lessons to fit in better with the French-centric team.

“His character and style speaks to my heart,” Sagan said of Bernaudeau. “He is serious when necessary and funny the rest of the time. He wants his riders to have fun on the bike.

“We all know cycling is a full-time job and you have to take it seriously,” he said. “It requires a lot of sacrifices, but you also have to know how to value the pleasure, to put a little lightness in all that, otherwise it will not last.”

Sagan will meet his new teammates in a team camp next month in France.