Three-time world champion Peter Sagan has been handed a three-month suspended prison sentence, and banned from driving for the same period, after he was caught drink driving through the streets of Monaco last month.
The 33-year-old, who will hope to add to his twelve stage wins as he starts what will be his last ever Tour de France on Saturday, was observed by police in the principality recklessly driving a scooter at around 11.35am on Friday 12 May, just four days before the Slovakian made his return to racing at the Four Days of Dunkirk, following his race-ending crash at the previous month’s Paris-Roubaix.
“It was 11:35 a.m. when the police noticed the risky, even dangerous behaviour of a driver behind the handlebars of his motorised vehicle,” the magistrate in Monaco said, according to local publication Monaco-Matin.
“The driver was trying to park in a space reserved for two-wheelers. The officers approached and very quickly noticed the signs of the scooter driver’s drunkenness.”
The “vague suspicions” of the officers were confirmed by the seven-time Tour de France green jersey winner’s breathalyser test, prompting them to take Sagan to a police station for a more precise test, which confirmed his blood alcohol levels to be 1.46 mg/l, almost six times Monaco’s maximum permitted intoxication level of 0.25mg/l.
Sagan is reported to have told the police that he had spent the previous night drinking in Monaco’s clubs, and had gone to bed at 3am. He said he had “an appointment” the next morning to bring a friend to a hotel.
Due to the high levels of intoxication coming up to lunchtime, the judge asked if Sagan had “went to bed or had fallen into a coma because of the impressive amount of alcohol he had taken.”
The TotalEnergies rider was absent from the court hearing, but his legal counsel argued that jetlag from a recent flight from the United States had affected Sagan.
“With a state of fatigue mainly linked to jet lag and six hours of sleep, he did not think he had such a rate [of alcohol in his system],” Sagan’s lawyer told the court. “In addition to the obligation to travel with his vehicle as part of his sports career, a fine would be more appropriate.”
However, the prosecutor argued that a fine would have little impact considering Sagan’s substantial income. The former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner was thus handed a three-month suspended prison sentence, as well as being banned from driving for three months.
Last month’s reckless behaviour isn’t the first time that Sagan has found himself on the wrong side of the law thanks to drink driving.
In November 2021, the Slovakian star was fined €5,000 for infringing Monaco’s Covid-19 curfew and injuring a police officer who attempted to take him to hospital to undergo a drug test.
Sagan, who was drunk at the time of his arrest, was travelling on his scooter with younger brother and fellow pro Juraj, with his lawyers later claiming that he began to struggle with the officers because he feared he was going to be “forced to be vaccinated”. The 33-year-old later apologised for his actions, which he claimed were due to his excessive alcohol consumption that night, something he said he was not used to.
Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.