Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
Slovakian, 27, Cycling
Cycling’s charismatic star and back-to-back road world champion
Representatives: Giovanni Lombardi
Key partners: Citroen, Osmo Nutrition, Slovak Telekom, Grand Hotel River Park, Sunroot
2016 ranking: 26
The charismatic Peter Sagan is not only the highest-paid rider on the International Cycling Union’s (UCI) elite circuit, but he is also one of its most prolific winners. Even by the Slovakian’s high standards 2016 was a remarkable year: a fifth maillot vert at the Tour de France, a second successive rainbow jersey at the road world championships, the inaugural winner of the men's road race at the 2016 European Road Championships and - for the first time in his career - he topped the individual rankings for the 2016 UCI World Tour.
Sagan’s enterprising bid to win an Olympic gold medal in the BMX ended in relative failure after a series of punctures undermined a strong start but he did, nevertheless, give a new set of fans a glimpse of his tenacity and unconventional character.
“Peter is a very special athlete, not only because of his great charisma and desire to use his platform in cycling to raise awareness for larger issues of the world, but also because he simply loves to ride his bike.” - Mike Sinyard, Specialized founder.
The summer of 2016 saw Sagan placed on cycling’s open market, following Oleg Tinkov’s disbandment of his eponymous team, and the 27-year old had no shortage of suitors from the UCI’s established, affluent teams. However, he eventually signed a three-year deal with little known German Pro Continental squad Bora–Hansgrohe – who now compete on the WorldTour – with Sagan pocketing a reported €6 million (US$6.7 million) a year. He remains cycling’s most bankable star, but one determined to go his own way. GD