On Saturday in Westlake Village, California, world champion Peter Sagan patiently posed with hundreds of people who wanted pictures with him. Whether on the bike during his Peter Sagan VIP Charity Ride or at the gala dinner afterwards, the affable Sagan indulged everyone who asked.
In between the two events — which were part of a fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of America — Sagan sat down with a few journalists for a quick interview.
Question: Why go to [a smaller team like] Bora?
Peter Sagan: We were speaking with a lot of teams. The team where I go, it is not just for the money. I wanted to bring my group. The big teams, they plan everything, and it is difficult to bring in your group.
In cycling, it is very important in what group you are staying.
It was very important to take my director sportif, coach, the riders, mechanics, masseuse. That is the most important thing I have learned in seven years as a professional is to be, not relaxed, but calm [with your team].
Q: What is the future for you? What race do you most want to win?
PS: Nobody knows. One day you are winning the Tour de France another day you are home. We will see. Whatever life brings me, I want to get it.
For me, there are three parts of the season. For the Classics, I would like to win Paris-Roubaix. Milan-San Remo is a little bit of a lottery. I try every year to win San Remo, and then I won two times the world championship. I am trying, but it is racing. You can do one bad movement, and you are out of it. Cycling is like that. You are riding for six hours, then it is over in three seconds.
I would like to win the Green Jersey at the Tour. After that I can be parallel with Erik Zabel [who holds the record for most Tour de France points classification wins at six].
After that, we will see.
Q: Do you have a favorite win?
PS: My favorite win for sure is world championships. That and Flanders.
Q: Will we see you on the mountain bike in 2017?
PS: We'll see. It was part of the deal with Bora. We will see how the schedule goes during the year. It's not easy to change from road to mountain bike. This year I did a lot of preparation for the Olympics, but it was very difficult.
For mountain bike, it might be better if I go just for fun. We'll see.
Q: What does it mean to be the UCI number 1 ranked rider versus the world champion?
PS: It is much harder to win the UCI ranking, because it is an effort for the whole year. You have to beat the climbers, GC riders, and then also ride for the Classics.
Worlds is all about one day. You can have good luck or bad luck. I am very happy for the world championship win, it is unbelievable. I had a lot of luck.
Q: Some riders are sprinters, others are climbers or classics riders. What type of rider do you consider yourself?
PS: I still have not found myself.
Q: How do you feel about the pressure of being famous?
PS: It's part of the job. If I'm not winning, I'm not popular. Then nobody don't care about me. If I'm not winning, I'm not doing wheelies. Or if I do, nobody cares.
With the world championship, maybe it looks like easy, but it's not easy.
If somebody disturbs me about a selfie, it's no problem. If I can make somebody happy, it's good. The most important thing is making other people happy. Because it's a bad world, no?
Q: So are the videos you do and the wheelies for yourself, or for fans?
PS: It is for the people. Why would I have to do a video for myself? If someone can watch something and have fun for a week, great.
Q: What do you do to keep riding fun?
PS: For myself, to have fun, to relax, is to be with my family. I'll be doing my job, another 3, 4, 5, 6 years. Then I have to keep going.
Q: Do you have any must-have equipment?
PS: During my career I [have come to] understand a lot of things about cycling. You have to explore what kind of training [works best for you], what kind of product. You are meeting every day a lot of people, especially the sponsors. Everybody comes, and says, "this is the best, this is the best, this is the best, this is the best."
I met [Osmo Nutrition co-founder] Ben [Capron] in 2013. He said his new product, Osmo, is the best in the world. [Laughs.] We did all the tests. I was training, and peeing on a paper to see how hydrated I was. Osmo was our sponsor in Cannondale. I didn't have any more problem with my stomach, I didn't have any more problems with cramps. Then the team sponsorship ended, and I was trying to find a way back. They just sent it to me. They were buying it from the shops and sending it to me.
For pro cyclists, it is not about the money, it is about what is the best for you.