Peter Sagan nears Sean Kelly’s all-time points jersey record after Giro d’Italia success

Giro d'Italia 2021 - 104th Edition - 19th stage Abbiategrasso - Alpe di Mera 166 km - 28/05/2021 - Peter Sagan (SVK - Bora - Hansgrohe) - photo Dario Belingheri/BettiniPhoto©2021
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) celebrates his maglia ciclamino victory at the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Peter Sagan ended the Giro d’Italia with a stage win and overall victory in the points competition, adding the cyclamen-coloured jersey to his collection of seven Tour de France green jerseys, and is now closing in on Sean Kelly’s all-time record of 151 days in a Grand Tour points jersey. 

Sagan will now take a short break before “getting back on it” all over again to prepare for the rapidly approaching Tour de France, all while trying to work out his future beyond 2021, which probably lies away from Bora-Hansgrohe. 

During the final week of the Giro d’Italia, the Deceuninck-QuickStep manager Patrick Lefevere made it clear there was no room for Sagan and his significant entourage of teammates and staff at the Belgian team. Lefevere has managed to keep Specialized as a sponsor but without Sagan creating a team within his team. 

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport and l’Equipe, several other teams are interested in Sagan but Total Direct Énergie is now ahead in negotiations, with the French ProTeam looking to step up to the WorldTour level in 2022, and so imitate Bora-Hansgrohe and benefit from Sagan’s huge global following to grow his team. 

Team manager Jean-Rene Bernadeau failed to sign Julian Alaphilippe last year and Total apparently want a far bigger presence in the peloton for the next three-year block of WorldTour places.

The team bike sponsorship with Wilier Triestina reportedly ends this year and so Specialized would take their place, their sponsorship helping to cover a significant part of Sagan’s multi-million salary and the costs of his entourage that could include his brother Juraj, Maciej Bodnar, Daniel Oss, Erik Baška, mechanics, soigneurs and other staff.

Sagan would not be drawn into talks about his future during the Giro d’Italia, preferring to let his agent Giovanni Lombardi work in the background, as he focused on racing and securing the cyclamen jersey. 

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, Sagan has won 37 different points competitions during his 11-year career and spent 148 days in a points competition jersey. During the final week of the Giro d’Italia he passed Erik Zabel in the ‘all-time’ ranking and is only three days away from catching Sean Kelly who wore a Grand Tour points jersey for a total of 151 days during his career.  

Sagan has still to join the club of five riders (Eddy Merckx, Djamolidine Abdoujaparov, Laurent Jalabert, Alessandro Petacchi and Mark Cavendish) who have won the points jersey in all three Grand Tours.

MILAN ITALY MAY 30 Peter Sagan of Slovakia and Team Bora Hansgrohe Purple Points Jersey celebrates at podium during the 104th Giro dItalia 2021 Stage 21 a 303km Individual Time Trial stage from Senago to Milano ITT UCIworldtour girodiitalia Giro on May 30 2021 in Milan Italy Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Peter Sagan with his son Marlon on the Giro d'Italia podium in Milan (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

On the Giro d'Italia podium with Marlon

Sagan climbed on the Giro d’Italia podium in Milan to collect his cyclamen-colour jersey with his young son Marlon, showing him how to fire confetti into the crowd. Both seemed to enjoy the moment and the cheers from the crowds who were allowed back near the race after the restrictions of last year during Sagan’s first ever Corsa Rosa.  

“After a bad year [due to the COVID pandemic], it was great to see the public at the Giro and in Milan, it’s like seeing the light at the end the tunnel,” Sagan said, reiterating the feeling the many riders who enjoyed being cheered from the side of the road.         

“It feels amazing to win the cyclamen jersey in Milan. I’ve got a lot of green jerseys but I was missing this one. It was missing from the collection and now I’ve got it. I love Italy and the Giro. I lived in Italy for five years early in my career and during the Giro I often heard people screaming ‘Peter! Peter’. That’s unbelievable that a Slovakian guy gets that. It makes me happy.”  

Sagan won the cyclamen jersey with a total of 136 points, beating Davide Cimolai (Israel Start-Up Nation) with 118 and Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) on 116 points.

He took the jersey when he won the sprint to Foligno on stage and kept it all the way to Milan. 

“I have to thank all my teammates and the team. They did a great job and they helped me be here,” he said, giving a special signed cyclamen jersey to each of his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates. 

Sagan was awarded the Premio Torriani prize on Monday after the Giro d’Italia and then headed home.   

“After all the hard work you have to rest. And I plan to take a few days off, then I have to get back on it again, to prepare for the Tour de France.” 

And the goal of chasing points jersey number nines to equal the all-time record of Erik Zabel and Sean Kelly's 151 days in a Grand Tour points jersey.  

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Stephen Farrand
Head of News

Stephen is the most experienced member of the Cyclingnews team, having reported on professional cycling since 1994. He has been Head of News at Cyclingnews since 2022, before which he held the position of European editor since 2012 and previously worked for Reuters, Shift Active Media, and CyclingWeekly, among other publications.