Opinion: Peter Sagan's Legacy is Completely Over.
Amidst the tour, having no stage wins and trailing far behind in every classification--including the points classification where Sagan typically excels--the veteran rider released an NFT artwork collection. At the time of publication, the tour is on the 17th stage out of 21 and Sagan has not made headlines for anything except talking about his potential and the NFT launch. Peter Sagan is one of our favorite modern riders, with 3 world championship titles, 7 points classification wins, and countless other victories. However, by all outward appearances, the Sagan of pre-2019 is far different from the rider we see today. Many spectators are left wondering if there is some intentional comeback strategy or if the rider has just been coasting for the past few years.
Peter Sagan in 2017, seemingly effortlessly winning his third consecutive world title.
Sagan became the first rider to win three consecutive road world championships since 2004, when he won his third title in 2017. Sagan's victory in Bergen, Norway, came after a hard-fought battle with Colombian Rigoberto Uran and Frenchman Warren Barguil. The Slovakian rider showed his strength and resilience by crossing the line first by a relatively short distance, cementing his place as one of the greatest riders of our generation.
Peter Sagan is widely considered one of the most talented and versatile riders in the peloton, and he proved that once again at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships. Sagan battled against some of the best riders in the world on a course that did not suit him particularly well, but still managed to take victory in a race which is traditionally seen as one for pure sprinters. This victory was all the more impressive given that Sagan had to overcome some tough competition on a course that was not ideal for him. Nevertheless, Sagan’s talent and versatility shone through once again, cementing his reputation as one of the best riders in the world today.
This win completed an incredible hat-trick for Sagan who also won the UCI Road World Championships in 2015 and 2016. It is a testament to his talent and consistency that he has been able to win this prestigious race three times in a row and it seemed only a matter of time before he would become one of the greatest riders of all time.
Sagan's victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that he had to battle against some tough competition, including defending champion Alejandro Valverde, who finished in second place. This just goes to show how Sagan has managed to improve year by year, despite already being considered one of the best riders in the world.
There is no doubt that Sagan will go down as one of the greats when he eventually hangs up his racing bike. However, the years have not been kind to the rider as he failed to secure a world championship title since the 2017 victory and lost the Tour de France points jersey in 2020 and 2021 and does not have enough points to secure the jersey in 2022.
Sagan has also won the points classification in all seven of his first Tour de France appearances (2012–2016, 2018, 2019), and would have won it in 2017 if not for being disqualified. He is the only rider to have won the points classification this many times, with the seventh victory putting him ahead of Erik Zabel. In addition, he won stage 15 of the 2015 Tour de France – a 132km mountain stage from Aups to Valdobbiadene that was described by Tour organizers as "the hardest ever" – becoming the first rider since 1996 to win a road stage on Mont Ventoux. Sagan's success in grand tour stages and general classification during his early career saw him crowned Velo d'Or winner as the best rider of the year for both 2012 and 2013.
At age 22 years and 11 months, Sagan became the youngest ever rider to win three stages at a single edition of the Tour de France, when he did so at the 2012 Tour. He repeated this feat at both the 2013 and 2014 Tours. At each of those Tours, he also won the points classification; with his victory in 2016, he became only the second rider after Eddy Merckx to achieve four consecutive wins in that competition. He also won Stage 21 of that year's race – an individual time trial over 29km from Sèvres to Versailles Palace – becoming only third Slovakian after Ján Andrej Cikánek (in 1999) and Jozef Regec (in 2000) to win a TDF stage outright.
In addition to these accomplishments, Sagan has also been successful outside cycling's traditional European heartland: In November 2015 he took silver behind Alexander Kristoff in Qatar at UCI Road World Championships held on The Pearl Qatar island resort; this made him Slovakia's most successful ever male professional cyclist as well as their first medallist at Worlds since Juraj Bartko won bronze in 2003. And then again in October 2016, he became world champion for a second time when winning gold medal on home soil in Doha, Qatar; this made him not just Slovakia's but also Central Europe's most successful ever male professional cyclist with 3 world titles altogether.
And that is about where the story ends.
Peter Sagan at the 2019 UCI Road World Championship, looking defeated after a difficult and rainy event.
Since 2017, Peter Sagan has not won a world championship. He has come close on several occasions, but ultimately fell short. The losing streak began in 2018, wherein Sagan did not land anywhere in the top 3 spots, results which would repeat on all subsequent years.
So what's behind Sagan's failure to win a world title since 2017? There are a few factors at play. First of all, Sagan is now 32 years old and is often said to be past his peak as a cyclist. Secondly, he has been hampered by injuries in recent years; most notably, he broke his collarbone twice. Thirdly, while Sagan remains one of the best riders in the peloton when it comes to sprinting and Classics-style racing (he has won Paris-Roubaix and Gent-Wevelgem twice each), he has been increasingly outclassed by Van der Poel and Van Aert when it comes to pure climbing ability - an essential trait for success in hilly or mountainous worlds championships courses.
Sagan will more chances to win a world championship gold medal. However given his age, injuries, and recent form - not to mention stiff competition from younger riders like Van der Poel, Van Aert, Pojacar, and others - it seems unlikely that Sagan will be able to add another world title to his already impressive achievements any time soon.
Peter Sagan looking defeated on Stage 9 of the 2020 Tour de France, the first year he would lose the points classification.
It has been more than two years since Peter Sagan last won the Tour de France points classification, a run of dominance that spanned an impressive eignt consecutive years (one of which he was disqualified out of the race by officials). The Slovak rider is still considered one of the best sprinters in the world, but he has struggled to recapture the form that saw him win multiple stages and the green jersey on an annual basis.
There are a number of factors that have contributed to Sagan’s decline in recent years. He made a big move from Tinkoff-Saxo to Bora-Hansgrohe ahead of the 2017 season, and while he enjoyed some success with his new team, towards the end of his career with Bora-Hansgrohe he was never able to hit the heights that he had previously reached before signing on with Team TotalEnergies.
Sagan also suffered from poor luck at key moments in recent Tours. In 2018, he was hampered by a horrific crash during descent on stage 17; and in 2021, he was involved in another crash on stage 3 causing an aggregated knee injury which put him out of contention for the points classification.
The 2020 Tour de France was Sagan’s first real opportunity to regain his status as the king of sprinting, but once again he was thwarted by bad luck. He looked set to win stage 2 into Nice after launching a strong finishing kick, only for Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) to edge him out on the line. It was a similar story on stage 5, where Sagan finished second behind Sam Bennett (Deceuninck-QuickStep). There were signs of encouragement for Sagan in 2019 on stage 5 where he finally claimed his first victory of that year’s Tour. However, it proved to be a false dawn as he failed to retain the points classification just mere days later.
Since 2019, Peter Sagan has not won a single stage or classification at the tour.
Sagan has made it clear that none of this is from a lack of trying, as the rider told CyclingNews in 2021, “If the calendar gives me the opportunity, I won't say no, that's for sure. But we still have to plan all this. You know, I already have to take care of my injury and finish the season with Bora because there are the Worlds and Paris-Roubaix coming up. At TotalÉnergies, my main objectives will remain on the road: the classics, the stages, the classification by points of the big tours ... I will continue to aim for what I was made for.”
This leads us to today, the only things fans have to chew on in 2022 are a national championship and ... NFTs. So, we'll end this article with why NFTs are not a good thing to sponsor.
NFTs are digital assets that can be used to represent anything of value. They are stored on a blockchain and can be bought, sold, or traded like any other asset. However, NFTs have several disadvantages that make them a bad investment. First, NFTs are very volatile. Their prices can fluctuate wildly, and they are often subject to manipulation by large investors. This makes them a risky investment, and one that is difficult to predict.
Secondly, NFTs are often used to scam people. There have been numerous cases of people selling fake or worthless NFTs, or promising returns that never materialize. This makes it easy for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting investors. Third, NFTs consume a lot of energy. The process of creating and verifying an NFT transaction requires a significant amount of electricity, which contributes to climate change. Additionally, the manufacturing of the physical hardware required to store and trade NFTs also has a large carbon footprint.
Finally, many experts believe that the hype around NFTs is not sustainable. The market is currently being driven by speculation and FOMO (fear of missing out), rather than actual use cases for the technology. This could lead to a bubble that could eventually burst when people realize that there is no real utility for NFTs outside of speculative trading. Not something a prominent athlete should be proud of sponsoring.