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“Everyone pees on everyone”: Peter Sagan says younger generation of pro peloton lacks respect

The three-time world champion claims that the peloton’s unwritten code of conduct has been replaced by “total anarchy”

Peter Sagan has criticised the “lack of respect” exhibited by younger pros after his disappointing performances at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne, using a rather interesting example to make his point.

It was a difficult Opening Weekend for the three-time world road race champion, with Team TotalEnergies’ marquee signing trudging home in 98th and 117th in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne respectively, a shadow of the rider who lit up the cobbled classics throughout the 2010s.

Speaking to the Flemish newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, Sagan complained about “anarchy” in the modern peloton and said: “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.

“The bathroom break just doesn't exist anymore. I saw it again in the Haut Var. You used to have the fixed time to stop to pee together. 

“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.

“They don't even bother going to the edge of the road. No names, but they just piss in the middle of the pack.

“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 Slovakian, who for many years was the poster boy for a golden generation of male riders after bursting onto the scene as a precocious 20-year-old at the 2010 Paris-Nice, has seen his star slowly fade as a new wave of ever younger talent emerges at the top of the sport.

> Peter Sagan comes to the aid of “flabbergasted” British cyclo-tourist in Gran Canaria

This generational shift has led Sagan to hark back to his early days as a professional, when patrons (or bosses) such as Fabian Cancellara and Lance Armstrong imposed an iron grip on the peloton.

“Fabian Cancellara used to say a lot of things about me, very provocative, especially for the classics,” Sagan said.

“That always made me laugh, because it just meant he was getting really nervous about me. When the journalists came to me with his statements, I always replied: ‘Fabian is my idol. I can't say anything bad about him’.

“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. In the past you had the unwritten laws in the race. Now, forget it. There is total anarchy there.”

Of course, this debate certainly isn’t new – Sagan, who has also been criticised in the past for some arguably reckless riding, has on a number of occasions lamented the lack of control and self-policing in the modern peloton.

At the 2016 Tour de France, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner blasted the “brainless” actions of some of his fellow sprinters. 

“Now it’s very hard to enjoy the bike in the race because when I did my first Tour de France it was a different race,” he said. “Now in the group everybody is riding like they don’t care about their life — it’s unbelievable!

“It’s not logical. In the group, before there was respect. When someone did something stupid, everybody throws their [water] bottle on him or beats him with [tyre] pumps.

“But now cycling has lost this. When I came in cycling in 2010, it was a little bit different.”

> Peter Sagan tests positive for COVID-19 for second time in less than a year

Sagan’s example isn’t the first time that respect in the peloton has been linked to bodily functions. During a stage of the ill-fated 1967 Tour de France, new professional Colin Lewis was asked to give his coveted cotton racing cap to his Great Britain team leader Tom Simpson.

“Why?”, Lewis asked the former world road champion. Simpson replied: “I want to have a shit in it”.

To add insult to injury, after the deed was done Lewis then had to tow his leader back up to the bunch. Respect.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

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20 comments

Avatar
Daclu Trelub | 2 years ago
0 likes

I was unaware that pissing on the go was even allowed.

The disgusting bastards.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Daclu Trelub | 2 years ago
1 like

Cauld Lubter wrote:

I was unaware that pissing on the go was even allowed.

The disgusting bastards.

Well...pissing on the go has always been allowed and indeed accepted, moving over to the side and rolling up your shorts, sometimes with a teammate pushing you along. It's just part of a sport where it's essential that riders take on vast amounts of water. It's not the most charming part of the sport, admittedly, but it's fact of life, no need to insult them for it.

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Rapha Nadal | 2 years ago
0 likes

I wouldn't want the peloton riding over my dick either...

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HoarseMann | 2 years ago
1 like

Is this what some drivers are on about when they complain about packs of cyclists pretending like they're in the Tour de France?

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GMBasix | 2 years ago
5 likes

Doing your toilet on the go is just one of the many reasons I refuse to ride in the Tour de France!!!

Avatar
Captain Badger replied to GMBasix | 2 years ago
3 likes

GMBasix wrote:

Doing your toilet on the go is just one of the many reasons I refuse to ride in the Tour de France!!!

I'm the same....

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SimoninSpalding replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
2 likes

No-one in the pro peloton would need to worry about me p!ssing on them (or indeed p@ssing them) even the bodily fluids of the gruppetto would be cleaned up by the time I got there...

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Alessandro | 2 years ago
2 likes

Cyclists are paid to get to the finish line as quickly as possible while adhering to the rules. If there are no rules or requirement for everyone stopping to pee then why should someone who doesn't need? 

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maxdabrit replied to Alessandro | 2 years ago
4 likes

Mr Pidcock, I'm sorry but we won't be renewing your contract. Your VO2 is off the charts brilliant but your bladder is just too small ! 😄

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Destroyer666 replied to Alessandro | 2 years ago
0 likes

Your understanding of the whole issue and bike racing is tragicomical - a bunch of cyclists pedalling like crazy towards the finish line with pee flying everywhere. In the real world not nearly all are paid to just "get to the finish line as quickly as possible". And how can you misread the article so completely? As it states in the title, Sagan's issue not about "rules and requirements", but lack of respect. Even if you didn't read the article again, it should not be so difficult to understand why, at least to some of us, for example peeing in the middle of a bunch might show a lack of it.

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JL77 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Strange that Sagan had litte to no respect for these "rules" when he was in his heydays . And now all of a sudden they are important.

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Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes

Is this the same Peter "Respect" Sagan that groped a woman when standing on the podium?

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OnTheRopes replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'm pretty sure he didn't actually grope her.

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kinderje replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
1 like

How else would you define squeezing a podium lady's buttock then?

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OnTheRopes replied to kinderje | 2 years ago
0 likes

Okay I take it back, I thought he didn't actually touch.

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Captain Badger replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
0 likes

OnTheRopes wrote:

Okay I take it back, I thought he didn't actually touch.

Fair enough.

Although had that been the case;

"Is this the same Peter "Respect" Sagan that pretended to grope a woman when standing on the podium?"

...I think would have illustrated a similar point

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Captain Badger replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
2 likes
OnTheRopes wrote:

I'm pretty sure he didn't actually grope her.

What are you pretty sure that he actually did do to her then?

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stomec replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
0 likes

OnTheRopes wrote:

I'm pretty sure he didn't actually grope her.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/apr/02/peter-sagan-apology-pinchi....

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to OnTheRopes | 2 years ago
1 like

OnTheRopes wrote:

I'm pretty sure he didn't actually grope her.

He did and rightly apologised.

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visionset | 2 years ago
0 likes

Sadly everyone has the right to do what the heck they like and sod everyone else these days Sagan.

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