Today in Belgium, Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) won another race in his rainbow stripe jersey of World Road Race Champion. He stunned the fading breakaway, went past Marcel Kittel and Nacer Bouhanni, took the victory and laughed once again at the supposed curse of the rainbow jersey.
Cycling legend has it that the wear often feels the extra weight of the lycra jersey and often struggles to win races. Witness 2012 winner Philippe Gilbert who won all of one race in the jersey the following season.
Peter Sagan, on the other hand is having the time of his life. He loves his rainbow colors. He’s not feeling the burden, he’s getting the boost, turning in his best performances all season long.
By our rough count, Sagan has won 12 races, including three stages at the Tour de France, Tour of Flanders, Gent Wevelgem, Grand Prix Cycliste de Quebec, two stages of the Tour of California, two stages in the Tour de Suisse and the stage today in the Eneco Tour.
He’s won solo and in breakaways and mass sprints, in uphill and downhill finishes; he’s won under pressure, as a favorite and a long-shot. He’s basically done it all while having a fabulous time.
Sagan has suddenly become a master tactician, an exceptional reader of races, displaying an immediate and intuitive understanding of race situations and dynamics. He’s riding with unbelievable confidence. Nobody has brought more honor — or more happiness and spontaneous joy — to the rainbow jersey.
Granted, Sagan is a once-in-a-generation talent, a genetic freak, a multi-talented rider who can win on any course, against the best competition. Still, that doesn’t explain the dominance he’s displayed while in the rainbow colors.
We have a detailed theory on how Sagan wiped out the rainbow curse. Like Sagan himself, his methods are unique, out-of-the-box and almost impossible to replicate.
Here, we believe are the three specific steps Sagan took to removed the dreaded rainbow curse:
1 Not shaving his legs. This is the kind of radical thinking that makes Sagan a king. By refusing to shave his legs for the early season races and breaking a time honored cycling tradition, he sent a strong message. I’m doing whatever I want because I don’t believe in curses. Bang.
2 His Grease video. This over-the-top, fun and campy rendition of a song from the 1978 musical Grease was a curse-breaker. Together with his beautiful wife Katarina, they lip-synced a song and dance routine from the 1978 American film Grease, which starred John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. Again, a show of pure fearlessness.
3 Riding a bicycle across a wire. You think a little curse is going to scare Peter Sagan when he rides a bike across a wire tightrope twenty feet in the air? This stunt — among many — at his wedding proved once again that the laws of physics and the rules of curses simply to not apply to him.
Do not count out Sagan at this year’s World Championship Road Race in pan-flat Doha. Sagan rocks the rainbow and he’s not ready to take it off.