Sagan removes monkey in California.


Sagan. Cali is always good.

Sagan. Cali is always good.

Four hours, five minutes, six seconds, then salvation.

That’s the precise amount of time Wednesday that Peter Sagan needed to rip the monkey off his back and throw him into the gutter. A Russian monkey named Oleg who some fool taught to use twitter.

With only one win all season and a salary the size of a classics superstar, Sagan came to California hoping to dominate once again, adding to his ten wins in the Golden State. He was second to Cavendish twice in the opening two days and that doesn’t make anybody happy but Cav, who is drinking the champagne and eating his pistachios.

But on stage four to Avila Beach, on a short, nasty ramp to the finish, Sagan ripped clear, shot past Daniel Oss (BMC) and his surprise move and took a monster win. Confidence back, salary mildly-justified, monkey with mouth shut and hairy fingers off twitter. That’s a perfect day in Sagan’s book.

Monkey in Moscow

Monkey in Moscow

Last year it was Jens Voigt taking his final pro victory, escaping out of a breakaway that had Sagan, Hushovd and Tyler Farrar. A big send-off win for Voigt and now an even bigger victory for Sagan. Life is good again and rival Cavendish was back in third place, with young Wouter Wippert (Drapac) sandwiched in between.

Sagan thanked his teammates profusely and dedicated the win to¬†Maciej Bodnar¬†who crashed out of the race yesterday. This seems like a page out of Cav’s book and perhaps Sagan is realizing that when wins are tougher to get, he needs to flatter his boys. Not a bad idea. Maybe some Rolex watches would be nice, too.

It was even better news considering what happened today at the Giro d’Italia. Alberto Contador injured his shoulder and knee in a mass pileup during the sprint to the finish line. According to the initial reports — which sound ominous — there’s a 50-50 chance he won’t take the start tomorrow, Giro-Tour double over, Tinkov ticked off again.

All in all, it was a very good time for Sagan to win his second race of the year.



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