Why Peter Sagan isn’t a sprinter

Peter Sagan won the green jersey in last year’s Tour de France and he always contests the sprints, yet people don’t tend to talk about him as being a sprinter. Why is this?

Stage four of the Tour of Oman answered that question.

What happened?

During four ascents of the same hill, the peloton was thinned out considerably. Chris Froome and Rigoberto Uran attacked on the fourth visit to the top, stretched the peloton, but were caught. At this point, Uran attacked again along with Vincenzo Nibali and… Peter Sagan.

Just look at those names. Who’s the odd one out? If you’re in any doubt, let’s fast forward to the finish, pressing play at the perfect moment so that we don’t see a single advert but also don’t miss a moment of the action.

At this point, Uran, Nibali and Sagan are still out in front, but only by about two seconds. They sprint and it isn’t even a competition. Sagan wins.

Spell it out for me

Sagan was the best climber out of the sprinters and then he was the best sprinter out of the climbers. The likes of Nibali and Uran can’t match the power of this delicious green cake of beef, while AndrĂ© Greipel disappeared during the first of the four ascents and finished 21 minutes down. Greipel can actually climb quite well for a sprinter, but that’s not quite the same as climbing as well as a specialist climber.

Calling Peter Sagan a sprinter is too simplistic and totally undersells him. The best way to think of him is as a really, really vivid shade of grey. He leads the entire race now. Stage five’s summit finish might be one notch beyond him, but let’s see.

The Schlecks

It’s always worth monitoring The Schlecks‘ totally unpredictable form. The Schlecks (Frank) were banned last year while The Schlecks (Andy) at first looked rubbish but then did actually perform sort of half-okay by the Tour, even if they didn’t recover quite the same level of performance as in years gone by.

On stage four of the Tour of Oman, The Schlecks (Frank) finished in the group of 20 riders which nearly caught the leaders. The Schlecks (Andy) were dropped on the third climb at about the same time as the 82kg Tom Boonen. Road cyclists don’t really come less similar than Tom and Andy.