Peter Sagan won the World Championships in Richmond, USA, flew home to party in Slovakia, drove to Milan for the 2016 Giro d’Italia presentation, and boarded a flight for Abu Dhabi, where he will debut in the rainbow jersey this weekend.
During the Giro presentation on Monday, he reportedly was doing all he could to stay awake. It could have been a harder challenge for him than winning the Worlds itself. The week, though, had been long.
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Sagan ahead of the Abu Dhabi Tour said, “It’s been a crazy week.”
For the first time today in training, he rode in his new white world champion kit with the rainbow jersey across the chest. He wore one in mountain biking after winning the junior worlds and won another famous jersey three times, the green points jersey at the Tour de France, but this one is different.
“For sure, it’s a strange feeling, no-one can understand that feeling. There are no words for it. It’s something different, something so much different than what I’ve ever had in my life before.”
The jersey marks an important win for Sagan. He won stages in almost every tour around the world, and their points jerseys, and one-day races like Ghent-Wevelgem and the E3 Harelbeke, but he lacks a Monument victory.
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He still needs one of the five Monuments in his palmarès, but the worlds win comes close and almost stands on the same level.
“I’m very happy with it. It was the biggest win in my life, I think I’ll remember it for the rest of my life,” Sagan said.
“Yeah I suffered in the final three kilometres, but it’s different when you suffer because you are feeling bad from when you are there and on your way to win. That’s different, there’s more emotion and it’s easier to deal with.”
Sagan packed the jersey that UCI President Brian Cookson gave him on the podium in Richmond and travelled home with it in his suitcase.
“I can’t tell you where I put it, they’ll come and steal it!” he added. “For sure, I’ll put it on my wall in a frame at home.”
He nearly spoiled the party in Abu Dhabi when complaining about the heat that will blanket the first edition from Thursday to Sunday.
As he showed in Richmond, though, he is not afraid to speak his mind.
Before stepping on the podium to accept the rainbow jersey, he spoke in a UCI interview about the recent influx of Syrian and other refugees into Europe. After four years of war in Syria, the situation appears to be at a breaking point with around 500,000 refugees from war-torn zones coming across the boards so far this year.
Sagan explained that he had to say something if he had the stage to do so.
“It’s important for all of us, otherwise, soon, everything will be finished. No! But if someone normal says something like this, then no one will listen,” Sagan added.
“I said that if I won the worlds, I’d say something because I believe that I can.”