And now we get to the real reason Sagan won me over…
Peter and I share a hopeless devotion to the movie GREASE!
When he was young, Sagan had thought about being an actor (remember this?). While his paychecks probably come primarily from sponsorships and winning bike races, it seems he hasn’t given up on his acting aspirations.
Today’s post comes courtesy of my future podcast partner (hint, hint), three-wheelin’ mischief maker and enigma to all who know him (at least to all those who know him that I know). Introducing, Sam I am… Peter Sagan.
Why is there a man taking his pants off in my house? Seriously, he doesn’t even have the decency to pick up after himself. He’s clearly been riding around town doing wheelies and god knows what else… probably showing everyone his confidence. I don’t need to see that!
When I’m laying on my bed, in the privacy of my own home, eating fist-fulls of goldfish crackers and watching the Tour, I’d like to know that a sweaty, homeless Slovakian man won’t just stroll into my house, get neked and hydrate himself with a bottle of delicious OSMO HYDRATION FOR MEN! (Now comes in raspberry twist and bubblegum crash, get yours today!)
So, believe it or not, the Tour is still happening. 😀 And UCI has extended their palmares of errors.
At least they corrected the most recent misstep — AFTER the video footage showed clear evidence of their mistake. (Was it really a mistake? Don’t answer that.)
Here’s what happened: UCI penalized 3 riders after stage 12 for picking up water bottles within 10k of the finish line, apparently a no-no. Problem for UCI came when video footage showed the stage 12 winner, French AG2R rider, Romain Bardet, also took a water bottle within 10k. That means, UCI had to either penalize the stage winner (and a Frenchman, remember), or reverse the penalties on the other rides.
UCI chose to reverse the penalties and they issued a statement explaining that there was lack of water available to the riders before the last climb so due to these conditions, they were reversing the penalties to those 3 riders and the original finish results for stage 12 were reinstated. (I agree with this decision, possibly only because I’m also a fan of all of the riders involved.)
But how fun that this came up! Because there’s something that’s crossed my mind many times since stage 4 on July 4th.
If I close my eyes and allow my mind to really stretch and consider that just supposing the TdF jury rethinks their decision on the stage 4 incident (I said it’s a stretch!), what would be a fair and feasible way to make amends?
Well, as luck would have it, we can look at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana for some ideas.
At the 2015 Vuelta, Peter Sagan suffered cuts and burns to his leg when he was hit by a neutral race motorbike. After his heated reaction, he was fined by UCI for abusive language and for “behavior that damages the sport of cycling.” (Seems like a pretty natural response to get upset when you get hit by a vehicle, let alone in an officiated race where you don’t expect to be hit by a vehicle and where you were a favorite to win the race. It just seems like something that might have been forgiven. Again, it’s a stretch.)
Take concrete measures to improve safety for the riders.
Revoke the fine to Sagan.
A review of the rules for motobike drivers.
I think a public apology (for making the DQ decision without allowing the rider to defend his position as rules state) and a donation to the charity of the team’s choice would represent a good start for the 2017 Stage 4 DQ incident. I might also add:
Initiate a review of the rules around disqualifications, possibly requiring a period of time to wait for evidence to be adequately reviewed.
Fine Dimension Data team managers for acting unsportsmanlike in their accusations on social media (because seems damaging to the sport of cycling to NOT call that out).
And one more thing: Penalize Bouhanni a chunk of his Green Jersey points (I say 50) for his stage 10 behavior.
I know we’re in fantasy land right now, but what do you think?
Even though my heart lies with road cycling, one of the things I was most excited about in last summer’s Rio Olympics was Peter Sagan competing in the mountain bike event.
Sagan is a former Junior World Champion mountain bike racer, and the road cycling event was not suited to his strengths, so when the Slovakian Olympic Committee decided he was their best chance at a high placing finish in the mountain bike event, he went for it.
So what happened?
Well, after riding in the top 3 for the first lap, Sagan got a tire puncture and had to ride most of the second lap on a flat tire to get to the pit area. Unlike road cycling, in mountain bike racing, there are no team cars following riders with spare wheels and bikes. Riders have to get to a pit area for repairs requiring outside assistance, so a mechanical issue presents a huge time loss.
It was still super fun to see him race in the dirt (once I finally found what channel and time to watch it!), and there’s no question he brought wider interest and new excitement to the sport (at least for that year).
Here’s a glimpse of Sagan in the Rio dirt. Look for his orange helmet and orange bike with light blue fork, and you’ll see him riding on a flat front tire around 1:35.
(Warning: The last 30 seconds or so is all falls and crashes so if that’s disturbing to you, stop the video around 2:00.)
Even though the video below is dated July 7, 2017, I just happened upon it in the last 48 hours. So far, it’s the clearest analysis video I’ve seen AND it presents a cause of Cavendish’s fall that seems potentially indisputable to me. (It’s also got a fantastic final scene that makes it worth watching to the end. :D)
So what do you think: Is the cause of the crash indisputable or still questionable to you? If you care to share, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
“A lot of people tell me, ‘you can do everything.’ But it’s not true.”
Shifting to a lighter gear today 😉 the Bora-Sagan partnership seems like a match made in heaven to me. I might just make a youtube playlist of these seriously entertaining and beautifully stylized promo videos — maybe call it, “I don’t know how it’s possible I can cook.”
“Oh sorry,” I would reply, “that would be too logical.”
From the UCI jury, Bouhanni got a $200 fine (I’ve seen library late fees higher than that), a 1 minute penalty (irrelevant for a sprinter), AND he kept all his green jersey points (the one place it might have hurt). Sigh…
I wonder what Oleg Tinkoff would say?
Oh, I know…
“In a perfect world, I don’t see the UCI at all in this game. I think they should run the Olympics, the world championships, and maybe some youth sports.” — Oleg Tinkoff, former owner and sponsor of Tinkoff cycling team*, in 2016 interview with NBCSports)
To be perfectly fair, it’s not exactly the same context, but I think it still applies.
You can watch the 2016 NBCSports interview with Tinkoff here (it’s a real treat!) or read the transcript here, and then decide for yourself.
And in case you’re wondering….
*Peter Sagan raced for Tinkoff cycling team 2015 – 2016.
Since yesterday was a rest day and we all had a chance to regroup, SLEEP, get caught up on emails, bills, (non-cycling) reading and such, today’s Tour de Sagan post is a little longer, and not so Sagan-centric. But it captures well the spirit of Peter, so I’m including it in this series.
A friend of mine shared THIS with me and it’s my most favorite thing that has come out of the TdF stage 4 mess so far (other than everyone being okay in the long run). It’s a story, fiction, based on real events.
For those not familiar with the current stars of cycling, here is a list of the characters with my (somewhat editorialized) descriptions to help you follow along:
Andre Greipel – A German sprinter, methodical, with a solid leadout team. He wins a lot. This is his 7th TdF so he’s been around the Champs Elysees a few times. 🙂
Jurgen Roelandts – Leadout man for Andre, which means he is pulling as much as he can as long as he can so Andre can launch from his slipstream at just the right time to hopefully win the stage.
Mark Cavendish – With 30 TdF stage wins so far, the Manx Missile has been a main player in the sprints since 2008, dominating many of those years. He usually has a really strong leadout, but he’s also skilled at freelancing off other fast guys’ wheels, which is what he attempted to do in the stage 4 sprint when he followed Demaure along the rails.
Arnaud Demaure – Young and hungry, France finally has a sprinter who can compete with the big boys and they are excited about it!
Peter Sagan – He’s just happy to be alive in this movie called His Life. I think he’s “Eckart Tolle on Two Wheels,” and he might have a thing for Haribo Gummi Bears.
Nacer Bouhanni – Another French sprinter, he has lots of ambition, not a lot of big wins. He uses sketchy tactics and doesn’t seem to be highly regarded by the other sprinters. He has a boxing background and lost a big sprint to Demaure recently, hence the heavybag comment. Apparently he likes to slam his handlebars? Maybe because he loses a lot.
Alexander Kristoff – A strong Norwegian classics rider and sprinter, he’s a solid staple on the sprint lineup but he mostly gets his sprint wins when the big guns aren’t there.
John Degenkold – Another Frenchman. He’s a talented classics rider and sprinter. In the stage 4 sprint, he tried to bunny-hop Cavendish on the ground and ended up going over his handlebars. Remarkably, he finished the stage and went on to place 5th in Stage 7!
Ben Swift – A British cyclist on the track and road. Along with Degenkolb, he got caught out by Cavendish in the crash and pretty much bounced off the asphalt.