Team TotalEnergies made it official Tuesday that three-time World Champion Peter Sagan would be part of the French ProTeam for the upcoming two seasons, 2022-2023, departing from Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of this year.
The second year of the new contract coincides with the next terms for WorldTour three-year licences to become available, a target for the second-tier programme, which has relied on a wild card invitation to compete at the Tour de France.
Sagan has racked up a record seven green points classification jerseys and 12 stage wins at the Tour de France, as well as four Vuelta a España stage wins, and two Giro d'Italia stage wins in addition to Classics victories in Paris-Roubaix, the Tour of Flanders and Gent-Wevelgem so far in his 12-year WorldTour career. He did not hesitate to move to the up-and-coming ProTeam.
“You know, when I joined Bora-Hansgrohe at the end of 2016, it was a small team. In a few years, everything has changed and it has become one of the biggest structures of the World Tour. What I mean is that I've been there before. The most important thing is not the current status of the team but what we are going to do with it,” Sagan said about the upcoming change of teams in an interview with L’Equipe.
“The fact that TotalEnergies is not in the World Tour today is not a problem for me. I want to help make it a great team.”
Sagan said he first met Team Manager Jean-René Bernaudeau with his agent, Giovanni Lombardi, three years ago at a gathering at the Tour de France. He said he admired the makeup of the team, including the aggressiveness of Thomas Voeckler, who has since retired. It was not until a few months ago that he and Bernaudeau had a serious conversation at Sagan’s home in Monaco related to a career move.
“He is serious and funny at the same time. He said to me, ‘I want my riders to have fun, you have to know how to have fun in cycling today, that's one of the keys to success’. There is a lot of work behind it, of course, it doesn't scare me, I know how to get involved and be serious when necessary, but I really liked this speech. This is the first time, the very first time, that a manager asks me to have fun,” Sagan revealed in the French publication.
“A cyclist is a full-time job and it can sometimes be heavy to bear. I think I've been in this business long enough to know how to deal with all of this, but for young people, it can be very difficult psychologically.”
On the side of keeping things fresh, Sagan said he would be given the flexibility to pursue other disciplines such as mountain bike or gravel racing.
“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.”
The Slovakian speedster withdrew from this year’s Tour de France before Stage 12 to Nîmes because of a knee injury, which he sustained from a chainring that damaged the area above his patella in a sprint crash. He underwent successful surgery three weeks ago but had to withdraw from competition at the Olympic Games.
“On the evening of my retirement from the Tour, luck would have it that Bora-Hansgrohe was staying in the same hotel as TotalEnergies. I took the opportunity to meet some of my future teammates, staff people, mechanics ... I'm really happy to join this group,” Sagan said, noting Edvald Boasson Hagen and Anthony Turgis as two solid riders.
When he joins TotalEnergies next year, he’ll have two former Bora teammates with him, Poland’s Maciej Bodnar and Italian Daniel Oss. In addition, Specialized has today announced that it will continue its longstanding partnership with Sagan and follow him to the French team. But the 31-year-old said he would also carry over positive memories from his time at the German team.
“I spent five years there and had some of my greatest successes there. It was with Bora that I broke the record for the number of green jerseys brought back to Paris (his seventh in 2019), with them also that I passed the bar of 100 victories. It's not nothing. I will keep incredible memories but after five years, I aspire to something else,” added Sagan.
“I have put up with a lot of expectations since I started working as a professional (in 2010) and moving to TotalEnergies will not change anything. It is my responsibility to continue to do my job as well as possible and to achieve results, to reward the investment of the sponsors and the confidence of the team.
Sagan continues to recover from surgery and it is not known when he will return to racing in 2021.
“This new adventure is very exciting. Jean-René is a manager who wants to change the lines in the world of cycling, I hope to be able to help this team to achieve it, and to win many races under these new colours," Sagan said in the official announcement about his departure to TotalEnergies. "For now, of course, I remain focused on end-of-season goals with my current team, and I will join my new squad with a winning spirit this winter!"
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