Peter Sagan through the years

Veni Vidi Vici

Today we focus on Peter Sagan, one of my favourite cyclists. I don’t know any Slowakian words to describe him in, but I guess best is the classical Latin phrase ‘Veni Vidi Vici’. It means ‘I came I saw and I conquered’. Although the phrase is in the past tense, Peter it still doing it as we speak! Below we dive in Sagan’s performance over the past years. At the moment Peter is 28 years old and he has been around in the peloton quite a while. We have his race results since 2012. If you want to go back even further in history you can take a look at the full rider profile at ProCycling Stats. Keep on reading and discover how Sagan developed over the years and how wrong the critics were in the beginning of the 2018 season.

Number of wins

Lets start with the number of wins over the years. This is shown in Figure 1. Note that here the size of the bubble indicates the number of races and the color shows the average level of the races. As you can see in terms of absolute wins 2013 was a great season for Sagan. This included a tour stage victory and the green jersey, but also at least two stage wins in the Tour of Oman, Tirreno, Tour of California, Tour de Suisse. USA Pro Challenge and the Tour of Alberta. With respect to that 2014 must have felt like a slight dissapointment, although I’m sure most other riders can only dream about 7 season victories or and green jerseys in the Tour de France, Tour de Suisse ánd Tour of California. The years 2012, 2016 and 2017 could be considered the ‘Sagan Average’ and 2015 and 2018 appear to just below his average.

Figure 1: Number of wins over the years, together with the number of races (bubble size) and % of wins (color).

But wait …. let’s take a closer look at the color of the bubbles. 2013 is very very blue, and 2018 bright yellow. This is the difference in the level of the competitions. In 2013 50% of the races were not part of the UCI world tour. Compare this to 2018, where each race Sagan participated in was at the World Tour level. To be honest, the results in 2018 are not as good as 2017 if you look at wins. So in case you are the glass-half-full kind of guy (🍺) take a look at Figure 2. This plot shows UCI points instead of wins and now 2018 could be considered quite a succesful season (accounting for the level of the races).

Figure 2: UCI points over the years, together with number of races (bubble size) and average race level (color)

Favourite race (profile)

In the previous two figures we discovered by the colors of the bubbles that Sagan has moved from quite a mixed race level to a World tour only schedule in 2018. In Table 1 you can find the races that Peter competed in for at least three times since 2012, orderd by the percentage of wins. In addition to that we provide the race class, the total number of years Sagan participated in the race (#yrs), and the total number of stages he started in (#stages). As for the results you find back the total number of UCI points as well as the number of wins (#wins), top 10 results (#top10) and the percentage of wins and top 10 classification relative to the number of stages. The table contains a lot of information, so let’s focus on some highlights:

  • Sagain (pun intended) has not been Slowakian national champion every year. The title did stay in the family though.
  • From the seven World Championships during 2012-2018 Sagan won 3, but also ended up in the top 10 in five out of seven races!
  • Gent-Wevelgem is definitely Sagan’s favourite Flemish Classic. Each occasion Peter ended up in the top 10 of which three times as number one.
  • In more half of the Tour de Suisse stages Sagan ends up in the top 10.
  • Sagan participates seven times in Milan - San Remo and each time ended up in the top 10, except never as number one.

Take a look for yourself and share your most interesting observation with the rest of the world.

For quite some stages and races we were able to recover profile information. Table 2 shows the percentage of top 10 classifications per profile type. It appears that in 2018 Sagan was relatively successful on the flat stages (FL) compared to earlier years. During the period 2013-2017 he was relatievely stronger in more hilly races with a flat finish (HI-FL).

In Shape(shifter)?

Now what about early 2018? Some people were trying to look on the not so bright side of Sagan’s results. But was that justified. To investigate this we look at all results in the first three months of the year since 2012. To be honest, I don’t understand what all the fuzz was about. Take a look at Figure 3 (this figure can be interpreted the same way as Figure 1). Compared with 2017 there was 1 win less, but that’s still way more than in 2015 and 2016. The UCI points in Figure 4 also show that it lags slightly compared to 2017, but is seriously good compared to earlier years. Plus all those points are earned at the world tour level

Figure 3: Number of wins during Jan-Mar over the years, together with the number of races (bubble size) and % of wins (color).

Figure 4: UCI points during Jan-Mar over the years, together with number of races (bubble size) and average race level (color)

To cut a long post short - the results of Peter Sagan are really impressive. Year after year and race after race this guy is among the best and there is no sign that the Sagan era will end anytime soon (fortunately not!). Oh don’t forget to follow the guy or his team on Twitter and while you’re at it say hi.