Many cycling fans and critics are wondering just what happened to Peter Sagan this season. He’s been less than his super-human self, nearly approaching the dreaded just pretty good.
What a dramatic difference. Sagan was dynamite in the three straight years he wore the rainbow jersey of World Champion. Richmond, Viginia, Doha, Qatar and Bergen, Norway — a magical three-peat — and each year he defied the Curse of the Rainbow jersey, winning Flanders and Roubaix and Tour de France stages.
This year, he is struggling big time. As in, back to the drawing board, coach mystified, tarot cards consulted. He’s been seen grimacing in races, dropped on climbs, outdistanced in sprints. It’s been a champagne-free existence.
The Classic’s season was a total wash with fails on the cobblestones and a rising chorus of questions. What happened to Sagan — was he physically sick, emotionally drained from his divorce, mentally worn out by working on his autobiography? Nobody really has a definitive diagnosis.
Make no mistake — the Rainbow Curse is real. Look no further than current world champion Alejandro Valverde of Movistar. Talk about bad luck — the guy swallowed a bee in Flèche Wallonne. Then he crashes on his birthday, just three days before Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a race he’s won something like four times. Instead he had to drop out halfway through that monument and now his Giro d’Italia ride is seriously compromised — if not derailed.
Sagan had avoided the curse but now seems to be suffering some kind of after effect. It may well be that Sagan has a slow-acting version of the curse that is only now afflicting him and ruining his results.
Call it Delayed Onset Rainbow Curse. And he has it full-Bora. That’s our theory.