On 25 February at 10:05pm I tweeted this.
Now, reflecting on that tweet in the cold light of Monday morning, I think we can all agree a couple of things.
Firstly, I really need to get out a bit more on the weekend, because spending all evening catching up on post-race interviews and media is no way for a young(ish) man to spend his Saturday nights.
And the second thing we can all agree, is that Peter Sagan's hat is one of the most badass things we have ever seen in pro cycling. I know for a fact the organisers, Flanders Classics, are planning to rename next year's event Omloop Hat Nieuwsblad. That's how bloody wonderful that lid truly is.
But lets be real here, it’s not just about the hat – it’s about what the hat represents. I’m not sure how many old-school style rules Sagz is breaking right here, between the non-regulation trucker cap, the hobo-chic facial hair, or the impossibly long and glorious flowing tresses. The man looks like he just emerged from the woods after going missing on a hunting trip in Bavaria three decades ago, then stumbled onto the start line of a major one-day bike race and proceeded to rip the cranks off a brand new S-Works.
What I’m trying to say is that Sagan's NFG score is off the damn charts.
And we, collectively, absolutely love him for it. We have entered a sort of post-pedal cycling, where how a single rider behaves defines the day. What happens on the course no longer matters, it is merely the canvas on which the maestro works. Sagan has become such a dominant figure I’m not sure we should even still be calling this sport we all love, ‘cycling’. For truly, now, the sport itself is framed not by how the 200 professionals in the bunch ride their silly plastic bicycles from one unpronounceable place in Belgium to another, it is defined by what Sagan does before, during and after that mud-spattered procession.
I couldn't give a fig if Tom Boonen wins a fifth Roubaix because I just know, win or lose, Sagan is going to do some mad shit like wheelie the whole length of the Trouée d'Arenberg.
Is this a good thing? I'm not sure. We are through the looking glass here, friends.
Ask yourself, honestly, what’s the better story, Greg van Avermaet winning the Omloop, or Peter Sagan mucking about with a swivelly stool live on Sporza?
SWIVELLY. STOOL. EVERY. GOD-DAMN. TIME.
GVA would have every right to feel pissed off. He just won his second Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in a row. That’s a feat that hasn’t been pulled off since, well actually, since Ian Stannard did it in 2014 and 2015. But before that it was aaaaaages. Greg definitely deserves some major kudos.
Instead he lies awake in his hotel room, Jempy Drucker snoring happily in the room's other bed. It is late. The stream of congratulatory texts from friends and family has begun to wane, so he flicks open his Twitter app to see what the world at large makes of his performance. Only to find his feed is full of pictures and video of the guy who came second wearing a Bubba Gump Shrimp hat and barely answering the questions posed to him by journalists.
Jempy murmurs something about kinderkoppen in his sleep. A single tear of frustration rolls down Greg van Avermaet's face. We have made Greg sad. We should be ashamed.
As he finally drifts off to sleep, Greg thinks, 'Tomorrow will be my day. I will win in Kuurne as well and take the double victory. Then they'll see, they'll all see!'
But Sunday was not to be his day. Sagan wins Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and his victory, despite K-B-K being a 'lesser' classic, makes more of a stir. But not nearly as much of one as the video footage of Sagan eating Haribo with two hands like an actual feral racoon.
It is the following night. Greg has opened Twitter again and sees the video of his nemesis eating Haribo like a squirrel gorging on the last nuts of autumn. He shakes Jempy awake.
"Have you seen this shit?" Greg demands, "I can eat Haribo like that if I want. How come he eats some gummi bears and it's a news story? Do you remember after the Olympics when I ate an entire kilogram sharing bag of Revels? Where were my 500 retweets?"
"Go back to sleep Greg." murmurs Jempy, only half awake, "It's late."
Jempy rolls back over and begins to snore. Greg lies in his bed. Seething.
But seriously, does anyone know where I can buy one of those hats?