The 2021 season marks Peter Sagan’s 12th year in the top flight of cycling, and there’s no question that over the past decade the Slovak has become the sport’s biggest superstar. Procycling magazine’s March 2021 issue features an exclusive interview with the Slovak as he prepares to start the new season, where he is due to make a return to the cobbled races having missed the classics last autumn to make his Giro d’Italia debut.
At the Giro last year, Sagan secured a spectacular victory on stage 10 from a long-range breakaway, but it was noticeably his only win of the season. Yet speaking to Barry Ryan, Sagan explains why only fine margins separate winning from defeat.
“The important thing is to understand why you don’t win 22 or 23 races a year anymore: it’s because it’s always more complicated,” he says. “But rather than getting annoyed, it’s important to deal with it. Basically, you just have to accept it.”
Another rider starting their 12th season as a pro, is Ashleigh Moolman Pasio, the South African who has joined SD Worx this year and who became e-sports world champion last winter. A self-described perfectionist, Moolman Pasio has long been one of the most consistent riders in the world but remarkably has never won a WorldTour race. She tells Procycling’s Edward Pickering how she has been trying to change that.
“Over the years I’ve had to learn how to get more in touch with instinct, not to think too much but to just go with the flow. It’s taken a lot of discipline and training to switch off my brain. My brain automatically wants to override everything, so I’ve had to work hard on getting in touch with my body, with my feeling, with the bike and with instinct. I haven’t perfected it, but I’m much better.”
Among the races Moolman Pasio will likely be lining up at this spring is Trofeo Alfredo Binda, the oldest race on the Women’s WorldTour cycling dating back to 1974. Arguably the closest race to a monument in prestige, Maria David delves into the history of the Italian classic, and finds out the secret to it’s long running success, speaking to former winners from along the way.
In the next installment of our State of the Nation series, Matt Rendell looks into the cycling scene in Colombia. While the sport might be booming in the South American country, with more top level pros than ever before and stars who inspire an entire country, the statistics conceal structural problems.
Elsewhere, Étoile de Bessèges was the first race on the men’s European calendar this year, and it enjoyed a bolstered line up featuring a host of star riders, as other races were cancelled around it. Peter Cossins was on the ground in France to witness the normally low-key race, with a 50-year history, be reborn.
Trek-Segafredo’s Jasper Stuyven tells Sophie Hurcom about racing under expectation and in the Belgian cycling spotlight, while Thomas Olsthoorn finds out more about the ambitions of the new Jumbo-Visma women’s team as they get ready to debut in the peloton.
Among those who lined up at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Opening Weekend at the end of February, was Victor Campenaerts. The Belgian Qhubeka Assos rider is making his debut in the cobbled races this spring, and tells Sophie Hurcom why he’s branching out from time trialling into one-day and aggressive racing this season.
“I reached a real high level in time trialling last year, maybe the highest level I’ve ever reached in my career,” he says. “But compared to the other riders, if you see the steps Ganna made and Remco and Wout, they are now on a completely different level and it’s a gap that is not so easy to bridge.”
Herbie Sykes remembers Polish cyclist Ryszard Szurkowski, the greatest of all Eastern Bloc riders who won the Peace Race four times. The 75-year-old dominated the amateur scene in the 1970s, and passed away on February 1st. While in our Retro feature, William Fotheringham winds back the clock to the career of Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, one of France’s archetypal pros.
The March issue also features all our regulars, including diarists Kevin Reza, Brodie Chapman and Charlie Quarterman, as well as Dan Martin and our columnist Laurens ten Dam.
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