Sagan unperturbed by the possible demise of the Tinkoff team

World champion talks about racing in the rainbow jersey

Peter Sagan has dismissed concerns about Oleg Tinkov’s decision to quit professional cycling and the possible demise of his Tinkoff team, claiming there is plenty of time for him and his teammates to find the “best solution” for 2017.

Sagan sparked social media interest on Monday when he raced with hairy legs during the opening stage of the Tour de San Luis but he shrugged off talk of traditions and aesthetics, saying having hairy legs was not a problem.

He finished second in the sprint behind Fernando Gaviria on stage two of the Tour de San Luis on Tuesday but said he was not concerned about the defeat and joked about racking up another second place. The Slovakian pointed out that he is Argentina to work on his form and build towards the spring Classics as he chases his first victory in one of the sports big five monuments while wearing the rainbow jersey.

Tinkov announced he was quitting cycling in an exclusive interview with Cyclingnews in December, a few hours after telling the riders and staff. Sagan earns an estimated four million Euro a season as one of the biggest names in the sport and would be surely be a target for numerous teams. However he is under contract with the Tinkoff team for 2017 and so can only move to another team if the Russian-registered team fails to find a new owner and sponsor.

“I don’t have to worry about my future,” Sagan told Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview.

“He (Tinkov) announced his decision with plenty of time to find the best solution, for me and the rest of the team. I can’t say anything bad about things. Oleg has put a lot of money into cycling, he wanted to change things but it wasn’t possible. I don’t think he’ll change his mind.”

Sagan was asked about the future of Tinkoff teammate Alberto Contador but brushed off the question.

“He told me he’d had a long, hard career and that he wanted to start enjoying life. Will he change his mind? That’s not my problem, you’d have to ask him.”

Sagan is often direct with his answers during interviews. This time he quickly dismissed questions about his chances in the hilly Olympic road race in Rio, making it clear he is not interested in making predictions, setting goals and over-thinking his racing.

“I don’t see the point of it all. You can talk for hours but then in a race something unexpected can happen and everything you talked for hours about is useless,” Sagan said.

“I’ve been asked about the Rio Olympics but I haven’t seen the course yet [he will go after the Tour de San Luis -ed.] There’s still six months to go to Rio but I don’t know where I’ll be in three months, so what can I say? I try to enjoy my racing and not try to over think things.”

Wearing the rainbow jersey

Sagan will stand out in the 2016 peloton because he wears the world champion’s rainbow jersey. He has opted for a classic look, combining his rainbow stripes with black shorts. He is a popular world champion but admits he is still coming to terms with the emotions of wearing the rainbow jersey.

“It’s a different feeling to anything else I’ve experienced and it’s difficult to explain,” he said. “You’ve got to experience it to understand. Someone has said that just looking at the rainbow jersey gives you an extra 50 watts of power. But I think I’ve remained the same person.”

Sagan will targeting the cobbled Classics, the Amstel Gold Race, the Tour of California, which he won in 2015, and then the Tour de France, chasing stage victories and a fifth consecutive green points jersey. He will then defend his world title in Qatar at the end of the season. He has no plans to change his programme.

“I’m a Classics rider and so if I prepare to do well until Paris-Roubaix, it’s difficult to do the Giro d’Italia. Even the Amstel Gold Race is tough after riding Pais-Roubaix. I haven’t even won a monument yet, so before changing things, I’ve got to win one. All the Classics are hard to win until you get one. You’ve got to have a perfect day and not make a single mistake.”

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