Our pictures from Sunday’s freezing edition of Gent-Wevelgem have only recently thawed out.
Close inspection of the frosty plates dumped at RCUK Towers by photographer Stefano Sirotti’s shivering assistant revealed images of a man in green, seemingly riding on one wheel.
Such scenes are rarely glimpsed in the world of professional road racing, whose exponents proudly uphold some of the finest traditions in sport. But as the condensation cleared, the evidence was incontrovertible: Peter Sagan wheelie-ing to victory.
Fabian Cancellara is absent from the five images submitted. The Swiss, no fan of Sagan’s antics, abandoned the race at the final feed zone, perhaps fearing the worst, or more likely, feeling he had suffered enough en route to his own solo victory at E3 Harelbeke two days earlier.
The two men will line-up alongside each other at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen on Sunday (March 31) for their third Belgian showdown of the season. The score is 1-1, but Tornado Tom Boonen could yet blow them both away.
The breakaway speeds towards Wevelgem
But when Sagan decided to go clear, with four kilometres remaining, none of his rivals could hold him
Sagan ups the ante on his trademark celebrations
Borut Bozic (Astana) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) join Sagan on the podium
The Slovak’s champagne celebrations seem subdued in comparison with his on-the-bike victory salute