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by Dane Cash
February 20, 2020
Photography by Cor Vos
At a time when he would probably rather be preparing for the upcoming Classics campaign, Peter Sagan has found himself compelled to issue a denial of being involved in a cryptocurrency scam thanks to the emergence of a fake article claiming that he endorsed the scheme.
“I categorically deny having any involvement, in any form, in what is mentioned in this article,” Sagan tweeted on Tuesday evening, once in English and again in Slovakian. “I have never been in contact with any of the persons or companies mentioned and any allegation to the contrary is false.”
Sagan’s tweet included a link to the fake news story (which we can’t advise clicking on considering the nature of the website and the abundance of sketchy links embedded in the post) that featured the allegation in question.
The article is presented as if it has been published by a news outlet called Momentálny – which does not appear to be real – and it claims that Sagan invested 1.5 million in a cryptocurrency program. Directed towards Slovakian readers, the story alleges that Sagan went on Slovakian television to promote the scheme, and even includes a juxtaposition of images that makes it look like he really did make the television appearance.
Like so many other “articles” of its kind, the piece notes that participants can make hundreds of dollars a day with a few clicks from the comfort of their own home.
“This is the greatest opportunity to quickly build the greatest wealth I have ever had in my life,” Sagan is quoted as saying in the fake article. “I encourage everyone to see it before the banks forbid it.”
The article also includes other various false claims, including mentions of the support for the program by Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson, as well as a lengthy anecdote from an alleged user of the scheme. It concludes with step-by-step instructions on how to invest – with a minimum of €250 – in the scam.
In being named by the article, Sagan joins a long list of countless celebrities whose likenesses have been used in fake stories to promote get-rich-quick scams on the Internet, while also being part of a smaller list of celebrities to actually warn their followers of the scam.
Sagan’s denial comes as he trains for his 2020 Classics campaign. The 30-year-old made his racing debut this season at the Vuelta a San Juan before spending this month away from competition. He plans to return to racing at Strade Bianche next month.