In a sport where riders are encouraged to control their efforts, to carefully tailor their messages to the media, and always show a good image for their sponsors, it is no surprise that there is some perception that today's peloton lacks personality. One rider who has bucked the trend is Peter Sagan.
When things go his way, everyone feels his joy. When things go wrong, he is unafraid to express his displeasure. It's no wonder that the largely American crowd at the UCI World Championships in Richmond celebrated his win as if he was one of their own.
Cyclingnews picked 10 videos that show Sagan's zest for life, for the bike, and for winning.
1. Full circle wheelie
At the Tinkoff-Saxo 2015 pre-season camp, Peter Sagan demonstrated his wheelie skills by circling trials star Vittorio Brumotti. It's just a taste of things to come for a season in which Sagan let his personality shine. (Tinkoff)
2. Bike golf
At another camp, Sagan reunited with Brumotti for a friendly game of golf - but on the bike. The pair took turns trying to kick the ball with their tires into the hole. Don't try this at home, or the greenskeeper might get angry. (Tinkoff)
3. Bike football
By the end of the season, Sagan was World Champion, and ready for more off-season fun. This time he and Brumotti played some football - on the bike of course, and showed a new type of skateboarding skill. (Tinkoff)
Sagan never misses an opportunity to test his equipment to the max. Rear wheel integrity is very important if you want to see how many bunny hops you can do at a time. (Tinkoff)
5. Tour of California - well deserved wheelie celebration
Feeling the pressure of team owner Oleg Tinkov after falling short in the Classics, Sagan went into the Tour of California determined to get a result. But three second places on the opening three stages made it seem that Sagan just couldn't get anything right. He broke his bad luck in Avila Beach, and then obliterated the shortened time trial to take the overall race lead. Sagan shocked the world by holding his own on the punishing climb to Mt. Baldy, and took home the overall victory the next day in Pasadena, celebrating in his signature style. (NBC Sports)
Sure, it's a promo for bike manufacturer Specialized, but it's clear that Sagan enjoys the respect of all of his peers, even those on rival teams. This video came out just before the 2015 season. Clearly big things were expected of Sagan, but it took him a while before he could deliver. When he did deliver, he made it big. (Specialized)
7. Wolf of Wall Street
Sagan wasn't quite able to get the Tour de France stage win that he wanted. After four second places, Sagan went on the attack in stage 16 to Gap, only to miss out on the victory to Ruben Plaza despite some daredevil descending. In an interview with Sporza, Sagan explained his gesture as he crossed the finish line. (foward to 1:07) (Sporza)
8. Aalst wheelie mishap
At the post-Tour criterium in Aalst, Sagan was game to show off his wheelie skills to the fans, but went a little bit too far and tumbled backwards. Imagine if his season had ended here? (YouTube user)
9. Vuelta violation
Sagan started the Vuelta a Espana in search of form for the World Championships, but a stage 8 run-in with a race vehicle left him frustrated, furious and firing at whatever he could reach. He ended up dropping out of the race due to his injuries, and had no problems displaying his disgust with the driver. (Eurosport).
10. Champion of champions
Finally, with the rainbow jersey his for the next year, Sagan could relax in the offseason and collect the accolades. Our readers voted him Road Cyclist of the Year, much to Sagan's appreciation.
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