Peter Sagan has signed a three-year contract with the Tinkoff-Saxo team, the squad announced this morning. The move ends weeks of speculation that has seen team owner Oleg Tinkov deliberately messing with fans' and journalists on social media.
Team manager Bjarne Riis said in a statement: "Peter is without doubt one of the biggest talents in cycling and one of the biggest names already. 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 hinted that the team will be fully behind the 24-year-old Slovak who this year won the Tour de France points jersey without actually winning any stages.
Riis said: "I believe he has even more potential than what we’ve seen so far. 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. Next year, we’ll have a very strong team to support him and to aim for big wins throughout the season.”
Oleg Tinkov added: “Peter Sagan is a great rider and it is my honor to have him on our team. 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.”,
On Tuesday, the team owner claimed he had not in fact signed Sagan, saying on Twitter: “I have to announce that we did not sign Peter Sagan. i believe he goes to Alonso team.”
He had previously hinted he was about to sign Sagan, tweeting: “Dear @tinkoff_saxo fans, do you want me to close the deal with Peter Sagan? If i get 1000 retweets, i will do it!”
He got well over 2,500 and it now seems the mercurial brewer-turned-banker was just having a bit of fun with us, the little Tinkov.
Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.
Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.
Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.
The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.