Sagan: I don't know, maybe it's karma that I won

Peter Sagan cheekily stuck out his tongue after pulling on his third rainbow jersey in the elite men's road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen and continued to show his unique, often brash and unpredictable character, as he talked about his latest stunning victory.

"I don't know, maybe it's karma that I won," Sagan said as he sat between Alexander Kristoff (Norway) and Michael Matthews (Australia), who he beat in the sprint, in the post-race press conference.

"I'm very happy. It's a special win for me, it's unbelievable. There are a lot of races in a year but this one is special. You need luck, it's a lottery, it could have happened or maybe not."

Sagan was invisible for much of the 267km race, sitting near the back of the peloton as the laps counted down and riders were dropped or used up their chances in the attacks.

Sagan played a waiting game, gambling that Julian Alaphilippe's strong attack would be caught and that the race would come back together. He tried one move in the final kilometres and then focused on his sprint. He ensured that he was on Kristoff's wheel coming out of the final corner and then managed to go shoulder to shoulder with the Norwegian before winning with a perfectly-timed bike throw.

He explained he again raced in instinct rather than a carefully planned race tactic.

"My strategy for today? I didn't have a strategy…." Sagan said when asked.

Yet he made sure he was on Kristoff's wheel for the sprint.

"For sure…" he replied, thanking Kristoff, who was sat next to him in the press conference.

"You can't plan things when you're in the moment. What you do isn't part of a plan or a dream from the night before," he explained.

"In the finale, I thought I was racing for fourth or fifth, I didn't think I was racing for the title. I only realised in the last kilometre that we'd caught Alaphilippe. Gaviria was up there, too, in the last kilometres. Then after, it came down to sprint."

Sagan only stopped joking around when he was asked why he had decided to dedicate his win not only to his wife but to Michele Scarponi, the Italian who was tragically killed while out training near his home in the spring.

"He was a special person, not only in cycling but in the world. He was always smiling and always gave off positive energy," Sagan explained.

"It was really sad what happened especially for his family. It's his birthday tomorrow and I always had a good time with him at training camps and races. I'm sorry he died."

Three-Peter: Making history with three consecutive world titles

Sagan made cycling history by becoming the first rider to win three consecutive world titles, but at 27 he is also the youngest three-time winner.

"I'm not sure if it will change anything in the world but it's nice," he joked before picking this third title as the most difficult to achieve.

"Every one is special for something, for sure for me personally. The first one was not expected, the second for sure was not and this time everyone expected it up front but it was not easy. It was a special day.

"This one was harder because it was an unpredictable race. You have just one shot in your legs for this kind of race. Even if it's 267km you have to move just once, you can attack, go in the break or sprint. What do you do? Until the last kilometer, we didn't know if it was a sprint. That's why it's special."

Sagan confirmed he would not race again this season, despite winning the world title again. His wife Katarina is now eight months pregnant and he is ready to stay at home and focus on being a father rather than showing off yet another new rainbow jersey.

He refuted a suggested that after another world title and becoming a father, he will be less hungry for future success.

"Do you want me to stop racing? First let me enjoy it," he said.

"I hope to do well in races next year but you never know in this sport. I live day by day. Who knows what is going to happen tomorrow."

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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.