Peter Sagan's victory at the world championships in Richmond has been judged as the most spectacular performance of the 2015 season by several of his peers, with his fellow riders praising him for the way he attacked alone during the final lap and soloed to victory.
French newspaper L'Equipe spoke to Chris Froome (Team Sky), John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale), Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) during the Saitama Criterium in Japan and asked them to select their most spectacular victory or race of the year.
While Froome picked future teammate Mikel Landa's performance at the Giro d'Italia and Rodriguez backed Alexander Kristoff's win at the Tour of Flanders, all the other riders praised Sagan for his victory.
The Slovakian took the world title against the odds in Richmond, making a solo attack on steep climb and descent in the final kilometres of the race. He opened a gap on Greg van Avermaet and Edvald Boasson Hagen on the cobbled 23st Hill and then tucked low over his bike and dived through the corner to extend his gap. Sagan could have waited for the two chasers but bravely decided to push on alone. He held off the peloton on the final climb despite unclipping a pedal and crossed the line alone.
"He was under so much pressure in the spring that he didn't win a Classic, then he missed out on winning a stage at the Tour de France. I found it incredible that he hit back at the end of the season," Geschke told L'Equipe.
Vuillermoz praised Froome for his second Tour de France victory but also picked Sagan.
"After all his bad luck and second places he won the best race of the year," the young Frenchman said. "Like him or not, he's one of cycling's personalities," Vuillermoz said.
Classics rival John Degenkolb won Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix. He could have argued that his victories deserved praise but sportingly picked out Sagan for his world championship victory.
"Everyone was waiting for an attack of that kind and we were all prepared for it, it wasn't a surprise. Yet nobody was able of going after him. I find that really great," Degenkolb said.
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