Peter Sagan, race course planner’s nightmare.
The 23 year old Slovakian won his fourth stage of the 2013 US Pro Cycling Challenge. Unless organizers throw in multiple Cat 1 climbs or something nasty with a 20% grade, Sagan has a shot at winning.
This year it was Sagan taking over Colorado the same way he owned the 2012 Tour of California where he won five stages — including the first four of the race.
Race organizers tried to game plan to prevent Sagan from a repeat this year in California. He still won two stages and that raised to haul to ten wins in the Golden State since his debut in 2010.
In the final sprint stage in Denver on Sunday, the entire peloton worked against Sagan and his Cannondale squad — or rather refused to work in bringing back the back. They all knew it was a sure win — his 18th of the season — if he was anywhere near the front in the final K.
He was still ten positions back coming through the final corner but still ripped past Ryan Anderson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Alessandro Bazzana (UnitedHealthcare) for another victory.
In truth, it wasn’t just the stage profiles but the competition. No other team brought a marque sprinter to Colorado, no Cav, Kittel or Griepel. Garmin left Tyler Farrar off the roster even though he’d scored two stages wins in the previous edition of the US Pro Challenge.
Sagan was left to toy with guys like Kiel Reijnen (UnitedHealthcare), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Luka Mezgec (Argos-Shimano) and US road race champion Fred Rodriguez (Jelly Belly).
Toy he did — and there’s no much a rival sprinter or clever race planner could do about it.