Slovak cyclist Peter Sagan defended his world champion title on September 24, when he won the UCI 2017 Road World Championship, Men's Elite Road Race, in Bergen, Norway.
He is the first racer who has managed to secure the title of world champion for three consecutive times.
The race was tight until the end.
"For the last five kilometres, I said to myself, it’s already done," Sagan told journalists following the race, as quoted by the Guardian. "But it’s unbelievable. This is something special. You saw in the climb, we were in pieces. And at the finish, it all happened in seconds. I am very happy, thank you to all my national team-mates. I want to dedicate this win to Michele Scarponi, it would have been his birthday tomorrow. And I want to dedicate this victory to my wife. We are expecting a baby."
Rider Michele Scarponi tragically died earlier this year.
“You know Peter. He always says: I have problems riding, I have problems riding,” Slovak cyclist and one of Sagan’s aides, Marek Čanecký said, as quoted by the Sme daily, “and then, at the last hill, he makes a break and leaves everyone behind.”
This is how things went in Bergen on Sunday, as Peter Sagan was not seen for a long time in the foreground. In the final round, his rivals were sprinting and trying to gain a decisive lead but the Slovak cyclist did not react. He was riding prudently, patiently and saving his powers. He was third at the final bend. In the finishing straight, there was a dramatic sprinting duel with local Alexander Kristoff. Sagan won so closely – by a mere several centimetres – that photographic documentation was needed to confirm his victory.
The cyclist timed his attack perfectly, and once again demonstrated his perfect orientation in a peloton and sense for choosing the right place to break away, Sme wrote.
Sagan on his winning feat
“It didn’t go according to my expectations,” Sagan commented on his surprising victory. “I tried to save my strength…And I have to thank the whole national team who did a great job,” he said, adding that until the last kilometer, he did not know whether he would fight to first place. “I was already at ease with the idea of not winning,” the cyclist continued. “Then we caught up with Alaphilipp, and I managed to quickly zigzag forward and spring for the title,” Sagan described for Sme.
However, he had to wait to rejoice for the photo-finish, as Kristoff – his only rival – defied him. “I didn’t know whether I was first or second – whether to be happy. When they finally announced it, it was an indescribable feeling,” the winner commented.
Sagan is historically the first cyclist to win the World Cup three times. Some managed to win twice but he is the first cyclist who has pulled off such a hat trick. Yet Sagan’s feat was the hardest of all three though, Sme wrote.