Maybe that trip to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis is already paying dividends for World Champion Peter Sagan.
When retired superstar Fabian Cancellara was asked about the state of pro cycling, he unloaded on everyone but Sagan. “The foundations are the problem: the UCI, the big organizers, the teams and riders. There’s a lack of unity and a global vision for the future. It’s a bordello.”
No arguments there, Spartacus. We have only to look at the next six months to a year of misery with the Chris Froome – Salbutamol debacle. Puff Daddy went twice the limit on the asthma med and now calls a malfunctioning kidney the real culprit. Cue ugly legal battle that holds the sport hostage during practically all the major events including the spring classics, Giro and Tour.
The blistering view of the sport by the Swiss champion was accurate — although Cancellara brought some extra color with his metaphor of a bordello — i.e. whorehouse. Which would seem to imply naked women and rich fat men with money — along with all the other problems.
However, Sagan, already reaping the holy benefices of Pope Francis, escaped unscathed. “With the results he has, Peter could be a leader of the peloton but it’s not his thing. He’s a rockstar, an individualist. If only there were more like him. The problems are elsewhere,” Cancellara told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Pro cycling is a sport that adores the story of the poetic misery and suffering on the bike. Sadly, that suffering is far more widespread, taking in the millions and millions of fans worldwide who must wade through another messy doping situation with perhaps the biggest star other than Sagan.
“The politics of the sport don’t work and so everyone suffers,” said Cancellara. “Everyone just thinks about what they can earn in the short term. Yet cycling, for the emotions it gives people, has enormous potential. Sadly that’s not used in the right way.”
A nice furry winter chapeau for Cancellara for forcefully stating the obvious. The UCI, teams, riders, fans — everyone is caught in the bordello except Peter Sagan. Then again, he’s happily married with a young son, and Pope Francis and Cancellara have his back.