World champion Peter Sagan pays tribute to Belgian riders Antoine Demoitié and Daan Myngheer who lost their lives last weekend

World champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) dedicated his victory in Belgium’s Tour of Flanders today to the cyclists who died in the last week, Antoine Demoitié and Daan Myngheer.

Sagan raced solo from the top cobbled Paterberg climb to Oudenaarde to claim his first monument. He did so in style, wearing the rainbow jersey and mentioning the two Belgian professionals.

“This victory is dedicated to the two guys who died last week,” Sagan said after riding a wheelie and taking flowers on the podium. “Also my team-mate Maciej Bodnar. He had a bad crash yesterday in training and didn’t start today. I hope he comes back as early as possible.”

Demoitié (team Wanty-Groupe Gobert) died after crashing last Sunday in Ghent-Wevelgem, where Sagan won his first race since the world championships last September. Myngheer (Roubaix Lille Métropole) fell in the Critérium International one week ago on Saturday and suffered heart attack in the ambulance. Late on Monday night, he died.

Peter Sagan escapes to win the 2016 Tour of Flanders

Peter Sagan escapes to win the 2016 Tour of Flanders. Photo: Graham Watson

Sagan also mentioned the refugee crisis, those coming from Syria and other countries to fight for a new life in Europe, after his world title win in Richmond, USA. His recent wins in Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders came on the heels of the Brussels terrorist attacks last Tuesday.

>>> Peter Sagan’s World Champs victory motivated by migrant crisis

“I said something in Richmond, and now here things happen. It’s a very difficult situation for everyone,” Sagan said. “What can I say, you to keep living. It’s hard for everybody.”

The 26-year-old called it the hardest of the six Flanders he raced. Before today, he placed second in 2013 behind Fabian Cancellara. Today, he attacked with Michal Kwiatkowski (Sky), dropped Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo) and held of Cancellara’s chase to win.

Watch: Tinkoff sports director explains how Peter Sagan won the Tour of Flanders

“It was a strange race, I did six times Flanders, but it was never as hard as this year. The race was full-gas from start to the finish, maybe only just one 10-minute time to relax. The guys I talked to said that they felt this year was different than the years before,” Sagan explained.

“In Richmond, it was different with just three riders: me, my brother [Juraj Sagan] and Michael Kolar. Here we had all the team to help, thanks to the team for this today. Thanks to [owner] Oleg Tinkov for the team. The special thing, the last three big victories was with three Slovak guys: me, my brother and Michal Kolar. Also in Gent-Wevelgem and Richmond. Maybe that’s a special combination.”

  • Grigor

    David, I didn’t phrase my reply well nor really say what I meant.

    Both Lance and Cancellara were/are phenomenally talented riders who trained/train immensely hard. The difference is that Lance is a proven cheat and Cancellara isn’t. Doubtless, Cancellara’s career has overlapped an era when doping was widespread and it’s not hard to imagine that he may have taken EPO and similar products in the past.

    For me however, Cancellara’s riding this year stands as a testimony to his talent. He’s almost certainly not riding with a motor and it’s less likely than ever that he’s doping.

    In my eyes, the fact that he’s still able to generate sustained stong attacks in the classics makes his standout (and much questioned) performances in Flanders and Roubaix more plausible. Evidence of genuine talent and dedication as I see it, not of yet more cheating…

  • David Kerry

    Grigor.. Cancellara is a doping cheating motorised bike rider.. Armstrong trained exceptionally hard but he’s still a doping cheat!!

  • David Kerry

    Llos25!! That cheating doping cancellara is a fraud and a cheat.. Sued for millions.. Shut up you fool

  • Grigor

    It was great to see Sagan finally show what he can do but I would have been equally happy to Cancellara win.

    Out of interest, in these days of increased testing of riders and bikes, what do you think Cancellara used to drop most others on the Kwaremont and the Paterburg? Given that he’s now a few years older, it must have been some good pixie dust. Or perhaps he’s just exceptionally talented and trains really hard…

  • llos25

    Hope you can back that up with fact or are you going to plead insanity when you are sued for many millions of €s.

  • David Kerry

    So glad Sagan won this race and not that cheating doping motorised bike rider cancellara !!!