In 1965, Tom Simpson won the World Championship. In the winter, he broke his leg in the skiing and lost the first part of the season. On Tour he was one of the big favorites. During the sixteenth stage, he fell twice – the motorbike was knocked down for the second time – and gave up the next stage. “The season is in the trap,” he said. He was the first victim of the so-called curse of a rainbow jersey.
Five years later Jean Pierre Monseré died in a rainbow jersey. In 1987, he celebrated the world title of Stephen Roche, who then dominated Giro and Tour. A year later? He left almost a whole season because of a knee injury…
We could go on.
And now the Tinkoff headlines last week:
“When you look at the results , it’s easy to be disappointed, but I’m not.The team did a brilliant job here, and my colleagues worked hard. The form is good, “he writes, among other things, on his Facebook twenty-six-year-old Slovak.
Maybe he did not admit it, but he cooked it.
Rainbow jerk and then again sorrow
Last year left the amazing Tour de France. “There is no doubt that Peter is the most powerful cyclist on the Tour,” his rivals say. But what did it do when he did not win a single stage in the green jersey in spite of that?
Until Vuelta broke his two-year curse of second places at the Grand Tour. “You can not be still alike,” he said then.
Then came the race he had been waiting for all year – the World Championship in Richmond.
He can not run long races.Green jersey without victory. Such nicknames at that time had to obey. All the championship races vanished. With a great attack a few miles ahead of the finish, he secured a rainbow jersey for the world champion. “I’ve seen a lot of comments that I’m not good enough for such long races. And now I have this jersey for the whole next year, “he smiled at the finish.
The curse of the other places was over. But for how long?
Fourteen days ago, he introduced himself to the most valuable jersey at the Abu Dhabi Season Closer. And in the second and fourth stages he occupied what? Yes, second place. The curse of the rainbow jersey has begun.
This season has begun at the Tour de San Luis in Argentina, which started with team time.No, Tinkoff did not come second, this time to “fourth”, but the day was just below the top.
From Argentina he returned to Belgium on the first checkered classic of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad season. And here he was defeated by a certain Greg van Avermaet – in the past the eternally second.
Not shaved legs helped
Sagan arrived at Tirreno-Adriatico, knowing that in four of the seven stages he could fight for victory.He did not even know that he would be fighting for him in the overall ranking.
The second leg was close to triumph, even the head of the group won, but Zdeněk Štybar was already in front of him. “Peter showed he was a champion, but it did not work. Stybar was all surprised by the super-violent attack, “said Tinkoff Sports Director Lars Michaelsen. But the Slovaks knew, “It’s a pity to be the second.”
In the next stage, he had a great position, which his friends from Tinkoff had unusually created, but he let himself close and the fourth came in. On Saturday he was again the fastest in the main field, but a group of six cyclists came in front of him. “Maybe it seems,” he thought, perhaps.
Maybe that’s why he decided to shave for the first time in the season of the leg instead of Sunday’s canceled stage.In the meantime, he was probably the only one in the entire professional peloton to be hairy. He hoped he would help him win that little bit.
And on Monday he was not far off. First he won a bonus sprint, which approached Zdeněk Štybar in the overall classification, then went into a strong group with Štybar, Kwiatkowski or Van Avermaetem. But he just took it, he was expecting his teammates in the peloton. When he defeated the finishing touches of the Slovak shoumen, he was already raging.
“I have been in Tirren many times in the escape with Nibali or Rodriguez and they both dragged more than Van Avermaet. This style of racing is not my style. What can I do about it? Just keep going, “he said angrily at the finish.
” It was not my usual way of racing.But I was there myself and wanted to save as much energy as possible. I decided about Van Gardener’s colleagues with Carus who were at the back, “explained the fresh blue jersey.
But the Slovak champion did not finish. “His defense? I also had team colleagues like Zdeněk Štybar. He did not have to go, not Greg, “insisted his world champion.
By Tuesday’s trial he went with the Belgian’s eight-second loss. He knew he could win so close to victory at Tirren he would never be. And that he can finally return the two tight defeats.
The time lapse was great, but he only ran the Belgian for 7 seconds. In the overall ranking, he lost just one second and was second again. “Lose the overall ranking for a second?It can only be Sagan, “said the English commentator. “Damn, I can not believe it, such a fate…For that, we should win the Tour de France,” Oleg Tiňkov, owner of the stable, wrote on Twitter.
“But I’m not angry. If they did not cancel the Sunday Mountain Stage, I would not even fight for victory here. I’m more motivated, “said Slovák in the finish.
The chance to break the rainbow curse and return defeat to the unpopular Belgian will have Sagan on Saturday when the first of five classic Monument of the season – Milan-San Remo.