Peter Sagan: Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated

Peter Sagan is probably not one to paraphrase Mark Twain, but as more and more people suggest he is past his best and even perhaps contemplating retirement, he has shrugged off reports of his decline, with Cyclingnews understanding that he has plans to race until at least 2024.

Sagan turns 31 in January and will start his 12th season in 2021 – and his fifth for Bora-Hansgrohe. Back in 2010, when Sagan was just 20 and in his first season at WorldTour level with Liquigas, he won two stages at Paris-Nice, distancing some big-name rivals and overall contenders in both finishes. He went on to win two stages at the Amgen Tour of California and take a haul of other placings, with his success, bike skills and likeable, standout character rapidly making him the biggest personality and one of the highest-paid riders in the peloton.

He went on to win a hat-trick of road-race world titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the Tour of Flanders in 2016, Paris-Roubaix in 2018, Gent-Wevelgem in 2013, 2016 and 2018, 12 stages at the Tour de France, seven points jersey competitions and a huge haul of other races.

In contrast, Sagan won just one race in 2020: a stage at the Giro d'Italia to Tortoreto, after going on the attack to make sure that rival Arnaud Démare (Groupama–FDJ), and anyone else, wouldn't beat him in the sprint.

It is only fair to point out that Sagan also finished second on four other stages at the Giro d'Italia, was in the top five at the Tour de France on six stages and was second in the points competition in both Grand Tours this year, which he rode back to back instead of riding the rescheduled Classics in October.

Those results would be career-defining for most riders, and leave them one of the most sought-after signings for the future. However, Sagan's success in the last decade has raised everyone's expectations sky high, with his 2020 lack of success exaggerating reports of a demise.