Peter Sagan didn’t like traveling. California made him change his mind

Apr 13, 2017
Category: General  Rider Interviews 

In 2010, as his professional career kicked off at age 19 with the Tour Down Under in Australia, Sagan warned: “I don’t like to travel outside Europe for cycling.” He was racing for the Italian team Liquigas-Doimo, but not in its Giro d’Italia lineup as he was too young to experience a three-week race. Instead, he was sent against his wishes on another intercontinental flight, this time to the U.S. for the Amgen Tour of California.

Seven years later, not only has Sagan never taken part in the Giro d’Italia, but he hasn’t missed an Amgen Tour of California. He’s also become a frequent flyer, racing around the world, including world championships in Australia (Geelong 2010), the U.S. (gold medal in Richmond 2015) and in the Middle East (gold medal in Doha 2016); in South America at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (on a mountain bike) and to Argentina for the Tour of San Luis; to Canadian WorldTour races; to Asia for the Tour of Beijing and the Tour de France Saitama Criterium in Japan; and to multiple Tours of Qatar, Oman, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Moreover, Sagan has become accustomed to going on vacation as far away from his home country of Slovakia as possible. He has visited the U.S. – San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York and the Grand Canyon – Mexico and the Caribbean. Last year’s end of season destination was Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

“I wouldn’t say that Peter doesn’t like traveling,” his wife Katarina revealed. “Sometimes traveling makes life complicated, but when we do it for leisure, we really have great fun. I don’t accompany him everywhere, but I like to do so when he goes racing to countries that really live for the sport of cycling: Belgium, France and the USA.”

Putting the U.S. on the map of cycling lovers ahead of Italy comes from the Sagans’ yearly visit to California in May.

“This is where Peter begins his preparation for the Tour de France following his break after the Spring Classics,” explained Katarina. “We usually come in advance for an individual training camp and we stay for two weeks after the race to intensify the lead up to the Tour.”

A trip to California has now become a fixture on Sagan’s schedule. He has found success on the roads of America’s premier stage race, winning in 2015, and he holds the record of 15 stage wins. The reigning World Champion has also captured the admiration of fans around the state.

“The Amgen Tour of California is a race I’ve enjoyed competing at every time I’ve started it, and it has now become a tradition in my program,” Sagan said. “I always love the warmth of the crowd, the atmosphere and the racing itself which usually suits me well although the route seems to me more and more challenging every year. California is a good place on the planet for me to get results.”