Extra motivated? Wheelie?
That’s what Ralph Denk, general manager of Bora Hansgrophe, thinks about Peter Sagan’s motivation level when it comes to the green jersey in the 2018 Tour de France.
The “extra” is that dollop of anger and frustration and pay-back from being thrown out of this year’s Tour for forcing Mark Cavendish into the barriers and a nasty crash on stage four. Most journalists and critics felt that Sagan should simply have been relegated to the back of the pack and fined.
Instead, A.S.O tossed the highest profile and most charismatic pro cyclist in the world right out of their race. Au revoir, mega-watt superstar. Apparently, Denk believes that Sagan will be more motivated than ever to win his sixth green jersey when the Tour welcomes him back.
Uhh, we don’t think so.
The Tour de France believes their event is bigger than Sagan and therefore they didn’t need him. In our view, Sagan probably feels exactly the same way. He is the one, bankable, superstar that appeals to millions and millions of fans outside the narrow world of pro cycling. He doesn’t need the Tour de France.
Sagan can win a sprint in any kind of race, he can win Monuments, he owns three world champion jerseys, he has more personality than twenty Chris Froome’s rolled into one. If he wants to focus on the classics, the Giro and Vuelta and the Worlds, he’s got plenty of star power to pick his stage venues.
Sagan is filling a massive personality vacuum in a sport desperate for wider attention and new sponsors. Outside the cycling fan niche, Froome and Nibali and Quintana mean almost nothing. My wife has zero interest in pro cycling but she sure likes the looks of Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan. Spartacus is gone and so is dramatist Alberto Contador.
The Tour would no doubt love to have Peter Sagan back and no doubt he’ll be there. But Sagan is too cool and charismatic and too intergalactic to concern himself with needing extra measure of motivation because he was kicked out last time around. He’s a superstar. He’s way above that silly stuff.