Maybe Peter Sagan will retire in California someday, skip the Slovenian homeland.
He clearly likes racing his bike in California. Maybe he’ll settle down in scenic Big Bear Lake where his won his second stage in the Tour of California last year. Perhaps he’s prefer to be closer to the ocean and the fine wine here in Paso Robles, where he won today.
The 21 year old sensation came from four places back in the final 500 meters to beat Leigh Howard (HTC-Highroad) and Sky’s Ben Swift. It was close but Sagan wins close races and he’s bagged five so far this season. He doesn’t speak English but no tranlsator is required to explain his plans.
“I rate my victory at Big Bear [last year] higher because it was so hard, but with this being so tough and long it’s satisfying as well.” Sounds like the man should probably call real estate people in both places before he makes a final decision.
The only thing we can say for sure is that Sagan will not move to Bakersfield, the dry and dusty oil town where he won his first stage of the Californian stage race. Locals call it Bako for the searing hot summer temperatures.
There was plenty of beautiful sunshine for stage five, the snow and rain and wind already a distant memeory several hundred miles back. The action started quickly with a large break of eight that got to work on the KOMs.
Pat McCarty (Spidertech), Jesse Anthony (Kelly Benefit), Oscar Freire (Rabobank), Chris Froome (Sky), Dan Martin (Garmin-Cervélo) and Chris Baldwin (Bissell) were hyperactive. Maarten Tjallingii (Rabobank), Martin Velits (HTC-Highroad), Jeffry Louder (BMC Racing Team), Stefan Denifl (Leopard Trek) and Bradley White (UnitedHealthcare) — who worked his legs off to bridge up — watched the fireworks.
Slowly by surely but inevitably the peloton brought them back. Radio Shack, Liquigas and HTC-Highroad all contributed to the efforts. Down they went with McCarty, Denifl, Anthony and Oscar the Cat showing the most fight.
The last man riding was Freire who was flying the flag for Rabobank and today more than ever. The bank was sponsoring today’s stage and nothing motivates a rider more than cheering bankers on the roadside shouting “Go Oscar” in Dutch.
It almost worked as Freire held out until the 2.5 kilometer mark — he got into Paso Robles but not in first place. That honor goes to California’s favorite Slovakian, Peter Sagan.
“I’d like to thank my teammates, without their work, this win wouldn’t have been possible,” he said at the press conference. “I’d like to thank Cannondale because the race is so important to them – I’m very happy for them.”
That makes three wins in the Tour of California for Peter Sagan. Almost enough for to earn dual-citizenship.