He grabbed his head in surrender. He was sorry for the tactical blunder after which he lost the opportunity to fight for another title.
Photo: Christophe Ramon / Agence France-Presse / Profimedia
Peter Sagan on the World Championships track in Belgium.
Peter Sagan did not compete in Sunday’s race at the World Championships in Belgium.
In a crucial moment on the 270 km long track from Antwerp to Leuven, he did not catch the opponents’ start and finally finished in third place.
Julian Alaphilippe became the hero of the ancient world. The Frenchman was victorious after a successful solo escape and saddened the home fans, who were primed for the success of the favorite Wut van Aert.
Sagan drove the initial 200 km in a focused and excellent position and saved energy for the decisive moments.
“She looks very determined. It’s my secret advice to the winner,” legendary Philip Gilbert said of Zelina’s man during the live broadcast.
But during the ascent to Picstrat came the decisive moment, when the hopes of the Slovaks ended.
Alaphilippe ordered the attack, and only the strongest kept pace with the French. Van Aert, Colbrelli, Mohoric and Atibar were not missing, but Sagan hesitated and let his opponents leave.
The group carrying topf Favorites quickly cemented the lead, catching Evenepoel’s escape and 50km before the finish, it was clear the winner would emerge from the Elite 15.
Sagan already knew he was an optimist. Television footage showed him holding his head in frustration and giving up.
“As expected, it was very fast and technical. He kept braking, adding. It was necessary to move on and at that crucial moment it just didn’t work out for me,” Sagan said at goal 26. cycling-info.sk.
“I stayed in the second set and he didn’t go. We went for a while with a small loss, we saw them in front of us, but every strong country had someone there and no one could compose to make it happen.
In our group we are just starting and slowing down, which always means the end of opportunities. There was no cooperation. How was my leg? I admit it’s not about winning.”
Finish in Leuven brought in a one-man show. Twenty kilometers before the strip, Alaphilippe fled again and his opponents did not find an answer to his attack.
He was chased by four Walgren, Van Barley, Steffen and Paulis, but the biggest stars, including Van Aert, fell behind and left the Belgian fans’ eyes weeping.
The Frenchman showed a great performance and a great desire to defend the title. He reached the finish line with a convincing lead and on the podium he again wore the rainbow jersey, which he had also worn last year.
“This whole year is a big dream for me. I’ve become a father, and now I’ve won my second champ. I was a little surprised that no one responded to my last attack. The last kilometers hit me but I enjoyed it,” said El Afilipi.
At next year’s championships in Australia, he could imitate Sagan, who won three consecutive titles in 2015-2017. “There is still a long way to go. But if this happens, it will happen,” he added.
On Sunday evening, Sagan posted a photo on social media of Phillip on stage.
Enclose a description in French, specifically the famous opening word (hat or hat down) and highlighting the new old hero.
This was followed by a torrent of comments, particularly from fans from Sagan’s employer TotalEnergies’ country of origin next year.
“Nice gesture from the hero. Peter, thank you for this report,” one wrote.
“Respect. I wish Peter a victory in Paris on Sunday – Roubaix.” The Slovak star is clearly expanding his fan camp…
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