Peter Sagan confident ahead of TotalEnergies switch: 'We are going to build a team around me'

The Slovakian expressed his enthusiasm to race at the French-based, ProTeam level side

Peter Sagan at the 2021 Tour de France
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Peter Sagan has explained his reasoning for deciding to join second-tier Team TotalEnergies for the 2022 season, as he leaves WorldTour team Bora-Hansgrohe.

Undoubtedly the standout rider of TotalEnergies team, Sagan wants to help the ProTeam grow to eventually compete on the WorldTour. Despite needing invitations to race cycling's major races - such as the Tour de France - because of his new team's status, the Slovakian expressed his confidence and desire to continue racing at the elite level. 

Sagan told L'Equipe: “We are going to build a team around me and this is what attracts me to the project. It’s pressure, sure, but it’s just been my routine for a long time. It was no different with my old teams.

“When I joined Bora-Hansgrohe in 2016, people also spoke of it as a small team. The real question concerning TotalEnergies is not knowing what kind of team it is at the time I speak to you, but what path it intends to take. I don’t care that they’re not currently on the WorldTour, I want to help it grow.”

Also factored into the three-time world champion's decision making is the respect that general manager Jean-René Bernaudeau displayed Sagan in trying to acquire his services. While other teams showed an interest, it was TotalEnergies who went above and beyond. 

“Several teams were interested, but the team of Bernaudeau showed the most respect for me," he continued. "They really wanted me and they demonstrated it all the time. Every time we had a question, they responded immediately. Sometimes it took weeks for others.”

The environment that the French team has created also enticed Sagan, who, at 33-years-old, understands he needs to enjoy his cycling in order to perform at his best. The 12-time Tour de France stage winner alluded to Bernaudeau’s character, suggesting that he gets the right balance between seriousness and light-heartedness. 

Sagan said of Bernaudeau: “His character and style speaks to my heart. He is serious when necessary and funny the rest of the time. He wants his riders to have fun on the bike.

“We all know cycling is a full-time job and you have to take it seriously. It requires a lot of sacrifices, but you also have to know how to value the pleasure, to put a little lightness in all that, otherwise it will not last."