What — you still don’t think powerhouse sprinter and classics rider Peter Sagan is a climber? Think again.
On stage three of the Tour of Oman, up the Wadi Dayqah Dam, Sagan won the stage over Contador, Nibali and Froome and then immediately did for four more climbs.
The Fastvakian climbed up the podium steps four times as stage winner and to slip on the jerseys for general classification, points classification and best young rider. The man simply doesn’t know about the existence of lactic acid.
Like his five stage wins in the 2012 Tour of California, the Tour of Oman is becoming the Peter Sagan Show. “I really want to thank the team for all the work they did today. There was a lot of headwind but the team set me up and its great to win,” said Sagan. His English is fast improving and that’s good because superstars know how to win and deliver the sound bites.
Sagan won on this exact stage last year in the Big O, the double feature that goes with Qatar. He was going to just beat the crap out of everybody but a little extra intel didn’t hurt. “I remembered that the last 20km and the uphill finish was tough. Marco Marcato (Vacansoleil-DCM) was the first to attack. I chased him down and there was about 100 meters to the end of the climb. I wanted to be at the front as the road eased and I was. After that, it was pretty easy it was good to win again.”
That’s Eddy Merckx talk — it was pretty easy. Yup, so easy that Philippe Gilbert (BMC Racing Team), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) Contador and Chris Froome (Sky) just have walk-on parts in this duel in the desert. C’est Sheik, C’est Freak!
The only difficulty that Sagan is having is that winning so much, the mental strain of inventing new victory routines is wearing him out. “In the end I didn’t do anything. I looked back but only to see if they were catching me.” Next Winter, Sagan will work with a choreographer to help him develop a wider range of creative victory options.
Thanks to a 10-second time bonus, Sagan built up his race lead to 16 seconds on Gallopin, with Van Avermaet holding down third place at 26 seconds. But the Green Mountain looms ahead on Thursday — although at this point who would be terribly surprised if Sagan went crazy and thrashed the emaciated Froome and the skinny Pistolero?
It’s Peter Sagan’s world, they just pedal in it.