Posts Tagged ‘Peter Sagan’

The oddness of Peter Sagan

April 5, 2013

Does your life revolve around bicycle-related activities, such as blaming yourself for not riding as fast as you would like, or squinting for hours at shonky feeds of obscure European races? Then congratulations – the essence of your character and the sense of perspective you once had on your life have been forever warped by the ever-spinning world of Planet Bicycle.

You’re not alone, though, because there is another group of people who are completely immersed in cycling. They’re called professional cyclists. And I think their greatest skill is disguising how weird cycling has made them – until, that is, their weirdness finds a means of expressing itself at an inopportune moment, such as the podium of the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday.

peter sagan bottom pinching

Peter Sagan is a 23-year-old man who believes crossing the finishing line first is the most important thing he can do with his life. It isn’t – not for him, nor for any human being – but that’s what every podium contender conditions themselves to think, otherwise the job becomes impossible to do. A consequence of single-mindedness is leaving more important areas of your personality under-developed; in Sagan’s case, it’s the part that tells you goosing a stranger’s arse, especially doing it so publically, shows about as much respect as urinating against the leg of the host town’s dignitary.

Hived off in the cycle of training and competition, sports stars are paid an awful lot of money to not be normal, yet we criticise them when they don’t behave like regular, well-adjusted human beings. I’m fairly certain I would never deliver an unsolicited grope to a stranger’s arse, and I think you would say much the same thing. But we’re cycling fans – in each of our own ways we’re all a bit odd, so we can surely empathise with oddness. We did it with Cadel, and once all the hoo-ha dies down, I think we’ll do it with Sagan.

Tea de France

July 4, 2012

Tea and cake: they go together like helmet and head, or spoke and nipple. It is cycling’s perennial double-act of refreshment and sustenance. Yet many cyclepeople consider cake to be the star rider and tea the humble domestique. Well, not in our gaff, buster.

My romantical partner Littlejen is Queen Tea. A Zimbabwean by birth, she settled in this country partly because of its love of the old Rosy Lee. So when it came to choosing a hotel for our recent trip to Paris, we were pleased to stumble upon one that specialised in teas from around the world. You could say we were – yes! – absolutely tea-lighted.

And now we can share that delight with you, valued readers, because Jen has purchased a selection of the teas offered to us on our trip to the French capital. They’re all from a French company called Le Palais Des Thés, and co-incidentally there’s a bike race on across the channel at the moment. So naturally I thought, why don’t we sup a different brew for each of the six weekend stages of that famous bicycle race, then express our opinions about them? We could call it Drinking Teas From France While Watching Men Racing On Bicycles In That Same Country. Then I though, no, let’s call it Tea de France instead. Come with us now as I reveal what happened, tea-wise, at the opening weekend.

Prologue, Saturday 30 June
Liège-Liège, 6.4km
Winner: Fabian Cancellara
Brew: Thé des Amants
They say: “Rich and sensual, Thé des Amants is a heady, fragrant blend of black tea, apple, almond, cinnamon and vanilla, spiced up with a hint of ginger.”
We say: You’ve been waiting 49 weeks for the Tour to roll around again – so there ain’t no way you’re not going to enjoy the prologue. Similarly, I reckon it’s impossible to dislike this light, buoyant tea. Ah, cinnamon – lovely cinnamon: the giddy fragrance of joy. Just sniffing the pot will put a smile on your face, and days later I can still recall the breezy taste. The only possible downside of this brew is that, like a GC contender with a series of early-season victories, the trajectory of our tea odyssey – or ody-tea – may have peaked too soon…

Stage 1, Sunday 1 July
Liège-Seraing, 198km
Winner: Peter Sagan
Brew: Thé des Fakirs
They say: “A tasty, scented blend of green tea and spices (cardamom, clove) with a hint of citrus fruit. Delicious served either hot or iced.”
We say: Sagan, the steely Slovak sprint sensation, locked onto the wheel of good-natured time trial legend Fabian Cancellara within sight of the finishing line – and this tea is also very much a coupling of two distinct halves. The green tea dwells stolidly on the bottom of the palate while the fruity bits sit lightly on top. Pleasant, but nothing to delight or amuse. Also, it looks a bit stew-like in the pot.

So that was the Prologue and the first stage. Who knows what teas we’ll be downing this weekend? Well, I know, obviously, and so does Jen. You’ll just have to pop back soon to find out…