Richmond/Terezín - Another one of the Junior Piece Race cyclists is in the rainbow jersey in the elite category. The Slovak Peter Sagan became a world champion in Richmond. Seven year ago he was battling with Michał Kwiatkowski for the victory in the Junior Peace Race, now he replaced him as the holder of the world champions jersey.
Peter Sagan made his debut in the Junior Peace Race eight years ago. The year was 2007 and he managed to get once on the podium. That was in the last stage in Terezín, he finished second behind Rafal Majka of Poland, now well know name as well, a winner of the polka dot jersey in Tour de France. Sagan finished 16th overall that year, fifth among the young riders who participated in the race for the first time. Michał Kwiatkowski won the race. One year later the slovak-polish duo met again in the race, competing for the overall victory. The opening stage in Litoměřice was won by Kwiatkowski, Sagan followed second. Also in the second stage from Kolín to Mělník they finished Kwiatkowski first, Sagan second. Unfortunately for Peter Sagan he did not have his day during the time trail in Třebenice, Kwiatkowski won it and Sagan finished 11th, loosing a precious minute. The two were missing on the podium during the next two stages, the one in Roudnice nad Labem and also in stage four from Děčín to Teplice. Sagan did not manage to get in front of Kwiatkowski in the last stage in Terezín. Infront of them finished only Lietaer from Belgium, Kwiatkowski finished second, Sagan third. In total that meant a second overall victory for Michał Kwiatkowski and second place for Pater Sagan who lost one minute and nine seconds. "There are riders who you remember and Peter is one of them. Already then he was spoken of as a big talent and he showed plenty of it during the race. At that time he was rather quiet and except on the bike a not very noticeable boy. He didn't smile as much and on the bike he looked very determined. I was nicely surprised by the jokes he came up with later. He gradually became quite a showman and that became a part of his image, me personally being a big fan of that." said the press agent of the race Patrik Pátek.
Nowadays Kwiatkowski and Sagan are competing in the elite category peloton. Each of them has a different role but when a big one time victory is at stake Kwiatkowski was ahead of Sagan again. The Polish won the world championship last year, Sagan this year. "These duels are beautiful. Those two are among the guys for whom I wish such great wins. Both are very friendly and even after years, when we meet we share few words. The guys always mention our race and I am glad they not only reflect on the race very positively but they even regard it as the race which helped them start their careers." comments, not hiding his delight, the Czech junior national team coach Svatopluk Henke, who was among the first to congratulate Peter Sagan on his win.
And the list of successes of former participants in the Junior Peace Race in this years World Championships is even longer. In the juniors category Rasmus Pedersen from Denmark finished third. In the spring he won the final stage of the Junior Peace Race and was tenth overall. Junior world champion Felix Gall from Austria was eleventh in the our race. Similarly in the time trial, all the racers who ended on the podium were taking part in the Junior Piece Race in the spring - Leo Appelt from Germany won in front of Adrien Costa and Brandon McNulty. McNulty was the overall winner in the Junior Peace Race and Adrien Costa was second in our ace. The junior time trial world champion was third in the final stage in Terezin. "I'm glad that those boys were successful here. For me it is always with great satisfaction to watch the career and the successes of the young riders, for whom we opened a bit the door into the elite peloton," adds with a smile Svatopluk Henke.