Sagan. The end of smiles.
Things Oleg Tinkov is doing after watching his expensive acquisition Peter Sagan finish second to Mark Cavendish in the first stage of the Tour of California.
1) Screaming obscenities in Russian
2) Jumping on twitter to express his supreme disappointment
3) Tearing up Sagan’s paycheck for June
4) Firing Sagan’s coach Bobby Julich, flying to California to take over Sagan’s coaching
Yes, things just get uglier and uglier for Sagan, who has won something like 10 stages in California but was beaten by several bike lengths in Sacramento today. Life ain’t good, the money is good, but no, life ain’t good.
Tinkov has already done his self-promotion piece for cyclingnews, which gave him his own editorial space to pontificate. He made a few pointe remarks about Sagan not delivering the goods and that something wasn’t right.
Sagan must have hoped that a few thousand miles distance between him and his Boss Behaving Badly would be enough. That the positive vibe in California, where he has always done well, would prove beneficial. He’s pick up a win, get the Russian monkey off his back and enter the second half of the season with some positive momentum.
Did not happen. Wasn’t even close. Cavendish got his primo Etixx QuickStep leadout and crushed the field. It was inevitable in that old school Cav way, everyone else fighting for scraps. Cavendish owns Sacramento, having won at least twice if not three times in the state capitol.
Tinkov must be foaming at the mouth. His staff is trying to forcibly restrain him from any tweets for the next 24 hours. In fact, Sagan’s only good fortune is that the Russian is too busy hanging out at the Giro d’Italia watching his boy Alberto to pay attention to events across the ocean.
But he’ll get there. He can’t help himself. Tinkov takes an unsophisticated view of how to motivate athletes, believing that applying more pressure is the best and only way. It ain’t working for Sagan and the joy in his bike racing is fading along with his results.
Sagan will get another shot or two in California but it’s not going to be easy to out-sprint Cavendish when he’s got four guys lined up in front of him. A string of seconds and thirds will not make Boss Tinkov happy. The Slovakian became the Fastvakian and now he’s the Sadvakien.
Still, California is the ultimate dream fantasyland and the race keeps moving south to Hollywood. There may yet be a redemption story in the works for Sagan. Then again, black comedy may be the genre this season.