The three-time world champion and TdS record winner has also made a few finishes for next week a special highlight.
The Slovakian Peter Sagan was the first cyclist ever to win three consecutive World Championships. This spring he won another cycling monument with Paris-Roubaix and the BORA-hansgrohe leader also leads the eternal best-list of the Tour de Suisse.
We talked to the likeable world champion about his memories of past TdS victories, training in rainbow jerseys and much more.
Tour de Suisse: This year the Tour de Suisse leads through numerous ski areas: Gstaad, Crans-Montana, Leukerbad, Arosa etc. Do you ski?
Peter Sagan: I like skiing very much, but my schedule doesn’t leave me much free time. However, whenever I have the opportunity and my training allows it, I try to go on the slopes. Because skiing is also good for my general fitness, and it also provides variety in my physical activities. I consider myself a pretty good skier. A cool video I shot in the Sierra Nevada in Spain provides the proof:
TdS: Slovakia is known for hockey and tennis – what does the cycling scene there look like?
PS: Cycling has undoubtedly become very popular in Slovakia. Many of the big races are now broadcast live on the state channels. I am very pleased about this and of course I will do my best to continue to promote this development. For this reason, I founded the Peter Sagan Cycling Academy in early 2016. At the moment about 20 girls and 40 boys aged between 10 and 18 years are training and riding in the Academy in a setting comparable to all other UCI Continental teams. We have a manager, trainers and vehicles for the support team and we try to participate in as many races in Slovakia and abroad as possible. In this way I try to give these children the opportunities I did not have even at their age.
Unfortunately my busy schedule does not allow me to be there as often as I would like to. Luckily, two weeks ago I had a day to ride with them in the Slovakian town of Nitra at the second event this year. It was fantastic and I hope that these initiatives will enable us to attract more strong Slovakian drivers in the future.
TdS: You have won a record number of TdS stages over the years. Which one do you remember best?
PS: I have the best memories – perhaps also because it was not so long ago – of the 3rd stage of the Tour of the Year 2016 from Grosswangen to Rheinfelden. It was a long and hard stage and the weather conditions were terrible. 12 km before the finish Albasini and Dillier were breaking away, with 30 seconds ahead of the peloton. I decided to take matters into my own hands and attack during the final climb up the Schöneberg. I caught up with them on the fast descent and then went hard for the last 10 km, because the field behind us was about to catch up. Although I was exhausted after the day’s exertion, I was able to win the sprint – with a three second lead over the field. This advantage and the bonus seconds ultimately earned me the leading position in the overall standings and the yellow jersey. It was a hard stage, but crowned by a very rewarding victory! I also have very good memories of the TdS 2012, not only because of the four stages I won back then, but also because it was a very pleasant race week.
TdS: This year, you could add Paris-Roubaix to the impressive list of your successes. Which gaps do you want to close or rather: which victories do you want to add to your Palméras?
PS: Clear, there are already some famous races that I have not yet won. But my philosophy is not to think about it and to accept every result as it comes. I give my best in every race I take part in and perform as well as I can. With this attitude, you can also accept results that are different than you would have liked, because you know that it would not have been enough to go any further. That’s why I don’t think about which races I still want to win one day. I take part in all the races and always ride as well as I can.
TdS: Which route would you like to take just for fun – alone or with friends?
PS: There are many places where I would like to drive for pleasure. It does not necessarily have to be a beautiful mountain range. Cycling is also a perfect way to discover and enjoy a big city.
TdS: Are you someone who usually takes a lot with you (clothes, food and equipment) when you leave home for a normal training ride, or are you more of a minimalist?
PS: My normal training rides from home are – as you call it – “minimalistic”. I ride either with other members of my team or with riders from other teams who are good friends of mine. We’re not taking much more than we’re carrying.
TdS: Do you wear your rainbow jersey of the reigning world champion at home on such training rides?PS: Yes, professional riders always wear their official team equipment during training, no matter where they train. That’s why I wear my BORA-hansgrohe set, which still has the colours of the rainbow …
TdS: Have any of you in the BORA-hansgrohe team ever thought about forming a rock band?! You, Daniel Oss and Burghardt? What would a BORA-hansgrohe band sound like and what name would you give it?
PS: I like rock music, as well as other team members, but at the moment I probably wouldn’t have time for such a project. Maybe in the future – we’ll see…
TdS: And finally: Who do you think will win the Tour de Suisse this year?
PS: I don’t like to make predictions. I think every race can be influenced by thousands of factors, not to mention a difficult race with nine stages like the Tour de Suisse. The winner will be the strongest rider, but not without a strong team behind him, good tactics and a bit of luck. At least he shouldn’t have bad luck… The only thing I know for sure is that after the end of the time trial in Bellinzona someone will be the overall winner of the Tour de Suisse.
TdS: Thank you very much & good luck at the Tour de Suisse.