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by Shane Stokes
August 8, 2014
Ending a long ‘will they-won’t they’ debate fuelled by team owner Oleg Tinkov’s twitter messages, Tinkoff Saxo announced Friday that the three time Maillot Vert Peter Sagan will indeed join the team next season.
A three year deal has been signed by the talented Slovakian, who has taken an array of victories despite being just 24 years of age. His palmares to date reveal the rider’s potential and the team hopes that he can reach a new level within its ranks.
Responding to the news, the team’s top rider Alberto Contador has said that he welcomes the announcement and believes the deal will be a beneficial one for the team in general and himself in particular.
“It is a very great news, and expected, but I’m happy that it’s now official. Apart from the good relationship we have between us, Peter is also a great rider and a natural born winner. I’m sure that Peter’s arrival will lead to some great things on the team.
“We are perfectly compatible and together we can ensure that Tinkoff-Saxo plays an important and noticeable role in most of the races on the calendar. Peter is a super talent that I believe will fit very well in the team. We are all delighted to welcome him and to have him riding with us the coming years, because he will adapt very quickly to the way we work.”
Team owner Oleg Tinkov has long wanted Sagan in his colours and played an important part in finalising the deal. He described his signing as a honour.
“I believe that Tinkoff-Saxo is the best team for Peter and I’m absolutely sure that he’ll win many races with us. I am excited.”
That sentiment is shared by the team’s general manager Bjarne Riis, who will work closely with Sagan to aid his progression.
“We are happy and proud to present and welcome Peter Sagan on the team in 2015 on a long-term three year contract. Peter is without doubt one of the biggest talents in cycling and one of the biggest names already,” he said.
“He has a winning mentality, he’s visible and active in the finales and he, without doubt, has the ability to bring home victories.”
Riis sees Sagan as playing an important role in strengthening the team and believes that his collaboration will help others, including double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, to also achieve bigger results. Sagan’s versatility means that he can dominate on many different types of terrain; he will also be able to help others if requested, and his horsepower should make a difference in a variety of situations.
“As a combined sprinter, puncheur and Classics specialist Peter Sagan has, despite his young age, emerged victorious in an array of different races including three points classifications in a row at Tour de France, seven GrandTour stage wins and several one-day races,” noted the team.
Riis is convinced that more is yet to come. “He has a huge talent and he’s already very strong but I believe he has even more potential than what we’ve seen so far,” he said.
Referring perhaps to some decisions during this year’s Tour de France which arguably cost him stage wins, Riis said that his strategic side can evolve further.
“He still has a lot to learn about the tactical aspects of cycling to fully optimize his power, but I believe that we are fully able to help him improve even more.”