World road race champion Peter Sagan will have the final starting number in a field of 50 when the Olympic mountain bike race begins Sunday in Rio de Janeiro.
Why does someone so accomplished get stuck with No. 50?
— UCI (@UCI_cycling) August 18, 2016
Well, the reigning Olympic champion traditionally gets the first bib number, so that goes to Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic. After that, bib numbers are assigned by world ranking, which means top-ranked Julien Absalon of France gets No. 2, second-ranked Nino Schurter of Switzerland gets No. 3, and so on down the line.
Since the popular Sagan usually rides on the road and has only ridden a couple mountain bike races, enough to qualify for the Rio Games, he gets No. 50 _ just behind 40-year-old Peter Lombard II of Guam, ranked 542nd in the world.
Something tells us Sagan's bib number is not indicative of where he will finish.
Why does this all matter? Isn't it just a number? Not exaclty. The riders will get called to the start line by their number, which means Sagan will get called last. And that means he'll be starting behind a full field and with dozens of riders between him and the favorites at the front.
Training on olympics circuit. Checking every detail. pic.twitter.com/Vv1Iko8VpY
— Peter Sagan (@petosagan) August 18, 2016