Peter Sagan is now nearly 50 victories into a still-young career that began in his native Slovakia as a pre-teen in club races wearing T-shirts and tennis shoes and pedaling his sister's bicycle.
But at age 23, Sagan is now a dominating cyclist, winning both as a traditional sprinter and as a power rider on courses including climbs.
The latest example occurred late Sunday morning when the Cannondale rider powered to the front in the final stretch to claim the eighth and concluding stage of the Amgen Tour of California.
With nary a challenge from the race's other sprinters, Sagan won his second stage of the event's eighth edition and a claimed race record 10th career Tour of California stage win.
“The last kilometer was pretty hectic, but my team did a great job bringing me to the front,” said Sagan, speaking in a still thick-accented but vastly improved English from when he first participated in the event four years ago. “They dropped me off with 200 meters to go.”
With Tejay van Garderen (BMC) claiming the overall title as predicted with a pack finish, the final-day drama was all focused on the race's fast arrival and circuits around Santa Rosa.
And like all pack sprints, Sagan crossed the line in a blur of speed and brightly colored jerseys in 3 hours, 4 minutes and 7 seconds.
The average speed of the final stage was 26.03 mph, increasing the speed of the race, often held in strong cross winds and headwinds to 24.49 mph.
Sagan's victory was so effortless and without a threat, he had ample time for four uppercut right fist thrusts and a concluding over-the- shoulder thrust as he crossed he line.
“It felt good to get my 10th win,” said Sagan. “After we went through the circuit, I knew what the finish was like, and it was pretty easy to get in the right position.”
Daniel Schorn (NetApp) of Austria finished second in the sprint.