Peter Sagan has had enough of being pissed on
It is, Sagan says, "total anarchy" out there.
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Peter Sagan – lesser-known younger brother of Juraj – has been in the professional peloton for long enough to have seen some things. He’s won some races. He’s had some nasty crashes. He’s sold luxury showerheads, shown his sweet potato to Daniel Oss, and he’s made music videos for Jerusalem artichoke juice.
But now, at the age of 32, he has had enough. Specifically, enough of being pissed on.
Now, that could be read as some sort of crass euphemism. It isn’t. Peter Sagan has spent years on the bike battling the wayward spray of his colleagues. Sometimes the wind has blown it into a fine, cooling mist. Sometimes he’s copped a thick stream to his leg. Sometimes – I don’t know this for sure, but I’ll take the creative license – the urine of other pro cyclists has spurted into Sagan’s spokes and from there, gracefully arced off in perfect parabolas all around him.
It is, Sagan told Het Nieuwsblad, “total anarchy”.
“The bathroom break just doesn’t exist anymore,” Sagan said. “I saw it again in the Haut Var. You used to have the fixed time to stop to pee together.” That fraternal moment of communal urination has gone: “Now everyone is peeing from their bicycles. I then ask: Is that normal? I understand if you ride the final of say the Tour of Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. But at a dead-end in the race? You don’t lose anything by stopping for a while.”
Sagan – clearly a man with something to get off his chest, and fair enough – continues at length:
“They don’t even bother going to the edge of the road. No names, but they just piss in the middle of the pack,” he explains. [Het Nieuwsblad does not describe Sagan’s hand gestures or demeanour at this point, but I’ll assume ‘flopping a phantom phallus around like a garden hose’ and ‘with great agitation’.]
“I first noticed it when as a leader in a stage race I stopped to pee. They kept on attacking, while that used to be a moment of rest in the peloton. Everyone pees on everyone, nasty. And if you say something about it, you’re arrogant, so to speak, because you can’t decide what someone else should do.”
The bathroom habits of pro cyclists is, Sagan explains, a rich metaphor for the way that cycling’s unwritten laws are increasingly violated. As an example, he calls on Fabian Cancellara’s press conferences of a decade ago: “Fabian Cancellara used to say a lot of things about me, very provocative, especially for the classics,” Sagan claimed. [ed. a Fabian Cancellara press conference is an unusually ‘provocative’ phenomenon.]
“When the journalists came to me with his statements, I always replied: ‘Fabian is my idol. I can’t say anything bad about him,’” Sagan told Het Nieuwsblad.
Now, Sagan stresses, the young riders of the peloton aren’t just pissing on each other in literal action, but in words.
“Back then it was the older riders who talked a lot – now the younger generation does, too. Then I think, okay, you are strong, a champ, whatever. But you are younger.”
“The younger generation lacks that respect. You see, you feel that,” Sagan continues. “In the past, you had the unwritten rules in the race. Now, forget it. There is total anarchy there.”