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

Willie McColl was stranded with a puncture and no remaining spare tubes when a group of pros, led by former world champion Sagan, stopped to help

It’s not often that you can call on four professional cyclists, including a three-time world champion, to act as your own personal mechanics.

But that’s exactly what happened yesterday to Scottish cyclist Willie McColl, after he ran out of spare inner tubes while riding in Gran Canaria. McColl, who is currently on a cycling holiday on the island, was left stranded by the side of the road after puncturing for the third time during a “simple two-hour recovery ride”.

With no tubes of his own left, McColl was “dependent on the goodwill of passing cyclists,” he said.

“I signalled to a bunch of ‘young kids’, who without hesitation came to my aid, provided a tube and set about getting me going again.”

The “young kids” in question were Flanders and Roubaix winner Sagan, Alpecin-Fenix rider Michael Gogl, a Bora-Hansgrohe rider, and another unidentified TotalEnergies pro. Not a bad group to stumble upon when you’ve got a puncture.

Michael Gogl fixes puncture in Gran Canaria (via Facebook)

The 63-year-old, initially oblivious to who his famous rescuers were, asked Gogl – sixth in Strade Bianche last year and clad in his new Alpecin squad’s kit – if “he was with the team”. Gogl replied: “Yes, and look – there’s Peter Sagan.”

“I didn’t recognise Sagan initially,” Willie told road.cc. “It was Michael who pointed him out. He looked much younger than I had thought.

“So there I was, a 63 year old Scot with a team of domestiques assisting me, all pros and possibly the most famous guy in cycling!

“I had trouble getting air into a tube. They all mucked in, tried different pumps, and concluded it was a faulty tube. A new tube then appeared, though I’m not sure from whom or who then replaced it for me.”

Willie told us that his new mechanics were “all dead friendly” and “very happy to chat away”. Sagan, who the Scotsman described as “quite bashful”, was also happy to pose for a few souvenir photographs.

Sagan with British tourist in Gran Canaria (via Facebook)

When Willie thanked them for their assistance, one of the pros told him, “we’ve all been there”, before sending the grateful tourist on his way.

No wheelies were performed, unfortunately, though the famous training group did jump over a barrier which blocked the road to the town of Mogán due to a landslip. Well, it wouldn’t be Sagan without a bit of mischief and panache…

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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16 comments

Avatar
ErgoKnees | 2 years ago
3 likes

Great story. Pros know roadside assistance comes back around. A couple of years ago I gave a training buddy (didn't recognize him) of Jasper Philipsen a spare tube as they had run out.

I didn't have to help them change it  3

Avatar
leedorney | 2 years ago
2 likes

No wheelies were performed - honestly, 🤦‍♂️

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Jem PT | 2 years ago
5 likes

Great story!

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joe9090 | 2 years ago
10 likes

OMG I love this article. Really uplifting during a crappy week of crap news. 

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Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
9 likes

Fantastic that the guys stopped to help.

But ...

What is going on with that wheel in the main image?
2 cassettes, eccentric rim ... No wonder why he kept getting punctures  1

Avatar
leedorney replied to Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
0 likes

I thought exactly the same..

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brooksby replied to Oldfatgit | 2 years ago
0 likes

I'd guess they stitched together a couple of different photos?

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mdavidford replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
3 likes

Looks like the kind of thing you tend to get in panorama mode (where it's essentially taking lots of pictures and automatically stitching them together) - maybe they'd been taking pictures of the view and forgot to switch back to normal photo mode.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
6 likes

Good gesture by the pros.

(but does demonstrate the importance of carrying patches and/or a repair kit in addition to spare tubes)

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Sriracha replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
5 likes

...and also of finding & removing whatever is lodged in your tyre causing the puncture, maybe?

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Secret_squirrel replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
7 likes

Yea but who hasn't had sequential puncture before when you can't find or forget to find the offending item?

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Global Nomad replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
9 likes

though having it happen in GC is far better than a dark wet winter night in the edgelands of London

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joe9090 replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
2 likes

Rite of passage

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hairyairey replied to Secret_squirrel | 2 years ago
2 likes

Experience has taught me that it's thorns that are worse than glass for being difficult to find, even when you've run your fingers through the inside of the tyre. Since I started using gatorskins though I haven't had anywhere near as much trouble (and sadly I am not on commission!)

Avatar
FrankH replied to hairyairey | 2 years ago
1 like
hairyairey wrote:

...

Since I started using gatorskins though I haven't had anywhere near as much trouble (and sadly I am not on commission!)

You're supposed to say "touch wood" to appease the p*nct*re gods.  4

Avatar
fenix | 2 years ago
3 likes

Niiiiice.

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