Cycling needs personalities like Peter Sagan, says Tinkoff teammate Adam Blythe. Sagan won the Tour of Flanders on Sunday in his rainbow jersey, pulled a wheelie and power slid for the photographers after the finish line.
Sagan threw his helmet into the crowd after winning the World Championships in Richmond last year. YouTube videos showed him riding over a car, climbing up stairs and playing golf on his bicycle.
Blythe, who joined Tinkoff this 2016 season, told Cycling Weekly that Sagan is anything but a robot.
“You have people who have big personalities [in cycling] like Brad Wiggins,” Blythe said. “He was a huge personality. He’s a bit like a robot on the bike, but off the bike, probably one of the nicest blokes. He’ll just say how it is and not try to be politically correct.
“Peter is a bit of the same, he’s just here having fun, he doesn’t care about the politics. He just wants to race.”
The last two weeks have been big for Blythe, who helped Sagan to win Ghent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders. This week, the 26-year-old Brit is passing his free time with Sagan at the team’s hotel in Kortrijk.
“He was given a PlayStation the other day. Some fan brought him a PS4 and left it for him. He doesn’t know who. He is full-gas with it in his room. He also has his petrol remote control car, as well. He’s just full-gas having fun. Him and his brother, just playing.”
It’s not the first major star Blythe has supported, having ridden for Philippe Gilbert in teams Omega Pharma and BMC, before spells at British team NFTO and Orica-GreenEdge.
“He’s probably the most down to earth, normal people I met,” Blythe said of Sagan. “He’s just simple.
“It’s the way he rides his bike as well. All he does it for is just because he loves riding his bike, he’s passionate about it,” Blythe added.
“He comes back from a training ride, chills out and just has fun. It’s not like he sits in bed like a robot every day, saying I need to rest. If he wants to go out and play football, he’ll go out and play football. He’s that kind of guy, he lives for now and lives for the moment. When he has to be serious, he’ll be serious.”
Watch: How Peter Sagan won the Tour of Flanders
Sagan is racing the Scheldeprijs with Paris-Roubaix in mind. If he wins on Sunday, he would be only the second to win both Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the rainbow jersey after Rik Van Looy in 1962.
“He’s motivated for Roubaix, we’re motivated,” Blythe added.
“He’s obviously the firm favourite. He has super form now. He’s going to use it and do the best he can. He’s not putting pressure on himself to win, which he never does, he is just going to try to enjoy it.
“Why can’t he win Roubaix? There’s no reason why he can’t win it. He’s the fastest guy in a small group. He’s proved he’s one of the strongest, too.
“Two guys were chasing him in Flanders and he just kept pulling away from him. I definitely think he can win Roubaix.”