The second week of racing didn’t go by without crashes. Bahrain Victorious is now left with only 5 riders because Matej Mohorič and Gino Mader crashed out of the race. The team had to change its strategy and is now racing on Damiano Caruso, who is currently second in the general classification. Jan is doing amazing work for him. We also saw an outstanding performance on Monte Zoncolan, where he finished second, just 26 seconds behind Lorenzo Fortunato (EOLO-Kometa). Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) is still leading in the general classification.
»The second week flew by very quickly. All stages were very stressful and difficult, except for stage 13, which was flat (as a pancake ;)) and didn’t cause us any trouble. I recovered well after the first rest day and my legs were much better then. It was very important for us to do everything we could to keep Damiano as high as possible in the general classification.
I seized the opportunity in stage 14, in which I climbed second to the Monte Zoncolan. Winning such a stage would be a cherry on top, but even though I’m extremely happy with my performance. Especially if you take into consideration characteristics I have as a rider. I gave it all and there is nothing to feel bad about.
Riding in Slovenia the next day filled me with a lot of new energy and motivation, even if I didn’t fight for more visible results due to an early crash. It didn’t look as bad as it was from the beginning, but when the race was stopped my knee started to swell and hurt. I rode with quite some pain that day. However, the knee condition is getting better, and I think everything will be ok.
Yesterday’s stage was really tough. Currently, Damiano is second in the general classification, which is pretty amazing if we consider all the bad luck we had as a team. Today’s rest day is well deserved. We have four very difficult stages coming up in the next few days and we will try to defend Damiano’s second place. That’s why my personal goal now is to help Damiano and perform well on a time trial in Milan.”
The first week of Giro is done. Gino Mader (Team Bahrain Victorious) won in stage 6. Egan Bernal (INEO Grenadiers) is leading the general classification after the first rest day. The first part of the race was determined by quite some crashes. Unfortunately, Bahrain Victorious’s leader Mikel Landa crashed out of the race too.
»First week, or better first half of the Giro, is done and dusted. In general, I’m satisfied with how everything turned out. I’m only a little bit disappointed with the first ITT stage, but I gave it all and I can’t blame myself. I’m very proud of the fifth place in the hilly stage, in which I was in a breakaway. Honestly, I didn’t expect to be that good, especially because that kind of finale isn’t the best for me. It was a great day and I pulled it perfectly.
Overall, my job is to help the teammates in the fight for the general classification. We had some bad luck with Landa and Matej crashing out of Giro. That’s why our strategy changed a little bit. However, we still have Caruso in the top 10, which means I will help him. At the same time, I will still try to find some opportunity to seize for my own.
I can also say I had two or three bad days when my legs didn’t feel right. I felt really empty on stage 10 and far from my best. I’m really happy today was a rest day. I hope I will recover in the next few days and I will be able to do my job 100%. I know I will be happy with myself if I will do my best and meet the team’s expectations.«
Tour de Romandie is in the books and it was won by Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers). It was good preparation for Jan since he will be starting Giro d’Italia in the upcoming days. Even though his role will be to help team leaders, he is fully focused on the first stage, the prologue in Torino, which suits his characteristics.
»I have mixed feelings for Tour de Romandie. I’m satisfied with my performance in the first stages, especially the 6th place in the prologue. However, I had problems with cold weather in the third stage, so I wasn’t able to ride as good as I could. Similarly, I didn’t have the best day in the last stage for ITT. I couldn’t keep my high power throughout the stage. I know this was just a bad day because I proved in the previous stages I can race better. The last ITT is forgotten, and I’m already focused on the next race.
I’m going to Giro d’Italia, where we will race with a really strong lineup. The main goal is to help Landa win the Giro. I will also get my chances in some stages and ITTs. I will try to seize every opportunity I get. My big personal goal will be on the first day with a prologue in Torino. I’m also very excited about the stage which will pass my home country, Slovenia. Overall, my main goal is to give 100% in helping Landa and seize every opportunity I will get to race on my results.«
Photo: Katarzyna Verschuren (IG: kasiaqrek) & Bettini Photo