Peter Sagan Is a Smart RIDER!

I have a RIDER code of conduct. I use it myself, and expect all the athletes I coach to follow it too.

Are You A Smart RIDER?

A Smart RIDER is one of those truly dedicated Cyclists who demonstrates:

R = Respect
I = Initiative
D = Determination
E = Enthusiasm
R = Reliability

If you want to maximize your potential in Cycling, then you must be true to the RIDER philosophy.

Undeniably, Peter Sagan is a true RIDER. Day-after-day, he demonstrates this on and off his bike. If I could turn back time to my junior riding days, Sagan would be my own inspirational RIDER.


Never underestimate your opponents. Honor your teammates’ efforts. Know and follow the rules of the sport. Accept officials’ decisions. Appreciate your freedom to participate.

In the 2017 Tour de France, Sagan was disqualified for an alleged elbow into Mark Cavendish during a finishing sprint. Cav when down hard and broke his collarbone. Sagan respected the officials' decision, even after his appeal. No further drama ensued, even though much video evidence emerged in Sagan's support. Respect.

And after every victory, Sagan always thanks the support of his teammates. Despite his current domination of Cycling, Sagan shows his respect that despite being a showman, he's not a one man show.


Own your training and drive your own performance through the process. Take responsibility for your actions to make achievement inevitable.

I like to tell athletes your coach will map the mine field, but they won't carry you through it!

To perform at the level of a Sagan, you've got to take the initiative to commit to each day's training objectives. Sagan hasn't won three World Championships by sitting on the couch between races. You bet he's out there training under the guidance of his coach Patxi Vila. In race situations, Sagan's fitness will get him to the crucial moment, but his sole initiative makes execute his ultimate race-winning move.


Focus on self-awareness and self-growth to embrace the continuous improvement of your training and tactics. Control your "monkey mind" — the emotional and irrational part of your brain that blocks performance.

If there was ever an example of pure determination, it was Sagan's suffering to complete the 2018 Tour de France, particularly Stage 19, the last mountain stage.

Sagan crashed hard in Stage 18, leaving his back and glutes a mangled mess. In Stage 19 he was in trouble on the first simple climb of the day. "Fucking hell what am I going to do today,” Sagan said. “It’s just a two-kilometer climb, easy and I was already almost dropped."

Through grit and pain, and the respectful help of his teammates, Sagan was determined to make it through to the end of the stage, within the time cut. He had to secure his record-tying sixth Green Jersey competition. “Mentally, I’m good, I think because it wasn’t an excuse for me to throw it away,” Sagan said.

A lesser rider would have thrown it away.


Enjoy what you do and with whom you choose to accomplish your goals. Be eager to ride with a smile on your face!

If you find yourself struggling to ride with a sense of joy, you need a break. Could be a small break or a big one. Life is too short to spend it Cycling just for the sake of riding.

When a break doesn't rebuild your enthusiasm, I say you're done with Cycling. Time to move on to other pursuits.

Luckily for us fans of Cycling, Sagan still demonstrates ample enthusiasm for our sport. Pulling wheelies up through hairpin turns? What more could express a sense of joy in your chosen profession? And he's always got a wry pre- or post-race comment to make. He makes me happy with the present state of Cycling.


Your coach and your teammates hold expectations of you. You seek out those expectations. Do your homework. Show up whenever needed, on time. As a domestique, you accept your role of helping the team meet its objective, usually getting the highest possible result for a teammate. As the leader. you're committed to do your best in training and racing — always.

When you're reliable, you understand the world doesn't revolve around you. You find satisfaction in serving others. For most of us Cyclists, that means contributing to our team without whining about it. Doing the work is its own reward and needs no external affirmation.

And when you've got the guns to be a winner like Sagan? To win consistently … as in three consecutive World Championships … that requires a fierce kind of reliability, with a killer instinct to launch winning attacks. I'm sure Sagan will never take a start line intending to be pack fodder. He'll be there to race — as should you.

Have you committed to the Smart RIDER code? Let me know in the comments section below!

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