Now in search of a record-breaking seventh green jersey, Sagan – who currently leads the points classification in the Tour de France – was the subject of high praise from Yates on Eurosport’s latest podcast.
“He is obviously a fantastic talent, but genuinely a super-nice guy,” said Yates.
“I left Tinkoff, the team folded, I had a really bad accent and the year after I went back to Belgium – this is an example of how nice he is – I was over there to watch the Tour of Flanders, and his team came down the road on a training ride.
“He suddenly saw me, pulled over from the team, came over and gave me a hug. The team were obviously riding off into the distance, he was alone and we had a quick chat.
“A kid then came along and he signed an autograph then had to chase back on. Peter is 100 per cent genuine, and obviously as an athlete very exciting. He deals with a lot of pressure as do all champions.”
Sagan: The last roundabout was like a waching machine - it destroyed everything!
Yates’ son Jesse added: “He’s saved the sport in many ways - the charisma he brings. He’s a character and a showman.
“I’m sure he has inspired many riders for the future generation.”