Friday, July 11, 2014

Simply the Best?

Peter Sagan came up short again today in the seventh stage of Le Tour de France. It was the closest he's come so far this year, but it still wasn't enough as OPQS's Matteo Trentin pipped him at the line in a photo finish for his second career victory. Sagan is making a habit of not finishing what he starts so far in this edition of Le Grand Boucle. Let's take a look at his finishing position stage by stage through the first 7 days of racing:

  • Stage 0ne - Second place
  • Stage Two - Fourth place
  • Stage Three - Second place
  • Stage Four - Fourth place 
  • Stage Five - Fourth place 
  • Stage Six - Fifth place
  • Stage Seven - Second place
It is obviously terribly frustrating to him and it showed after todays finish, but let's think about this for just a moment... In the first seven stages of the worlds biggest race in some of the hardest conditions ever seen in Le Tour he has finished no worse than fifth place. 

Fifth place. 

He has done this regardless of stage profile. He has taken second place behind the best pure sprinters in the world including Marcel Kittel and Andre Greipel on some of the flattest and fastest stages. He has been in sustained breaks over rolling terrain that left those same pure sprinters shot out of the back of the pack. He managed his time almost perfectly in the longest stage of the entire tour nearly winning it, and lastly he rode to a solid fifth place on one of the hardest stages in years over the cobbles of the Arenberg just ahead of the king of the pavĂ© Fabian Cancellara (and he did it without complaining which is more than the Swiss champ can say...). 

All of this would seem to uphold the argument I've been making for a couple of years now, that pound for pound, stage for stage and race for race Peter Sagan is the best overall rider on the pro tour today

Them are fightin' words in some circles but I'll stand by 'em. 

He's well on his way to his second green jersey and who knows how many of those he'll win. He's matured beyond the childishness and recklessness that caused so much concern both on and off the bike in past years. He's shown a patience on the bike that has allowed him to use his mind in addition to his prodigious physical talents to get the great results we've seen recently. If he keeps this up he'll easily work his way into one of the top positions in the history of modern cycling...

...And I for one can't wait to watch it happen. 

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