Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) came third to the finish line after 234 kilometers of racing on the Olympic Road race. Jan Tratnik contributed a lot to this bronze medal as he was pulling the peloton for more than 100 kilometers and helped the team’s leaders save their energy for the finale.
“I’m very happy to be part of this bronze medal. I felt great during the whole race, and it was an honor to work for two leaders such as Primož and Tadej. I know I can’t win on such a hilly route, but if there is a chance for me to contribute to the team’s success, I will give it my all. I’m also very happy that we got what we came for. Of course, it would be better if we won, but since other teams were racing against us, we got the maximum out of it. I’m proud to be part of this story, especially because it was my first Olympics.
Our trip to Tokyo was long and exhausting. We didn’t have much time to adapt to the new environment and time zone. Also, it’s very hot here, and the humidity is extreme. It wasn’t easy, and I had some problems on training for the first two days, but then I started to feel better.
Too bad we can’t experience the Olympics as we should in non-Covid times. To make It easier, logistics-wise, cyclists slept separately, not in the Olympic village. We also didn’t participate in the opening ceremony. At least spectators were allowed to cheer for us by the road and in the finish zone. We are coming back to Slovenia on Monday, so we don’t have the option to go around and enjoy ourselves as tourists for a couple of days.
When I come home, I will take a day or two easier, but then I have to continue with preparation for La Vuelta, which starts on August 14.”
Jan took a few days off after the first part of the season, but not for long. He is already on an altitude training camp with the team, preparing for the second part of the season. The main goals will be the Olympics and La Vuelta.
“I took some time for myself after the Nationals. I only rode my bike to wake my body up a little bit, no longer than one hour. I spend most of the time at home, with my girlfriend and friends. It was a short but sweet break.
Now I’m at an altitude training camp in Livigno. After a week of holidays, I feel recharged and motivated for the second part of the season. This altitude training camp is an important part of the preparation to get me in my best shape. I started with easier and shorter training just to get used to the altitude. In the next week, I will start with more intense and longer trainings.
The first goal of the second part of the season is the Olympic Games in Tokyo. I’m very happy and proud to be a part of the Slovenian national team. I’m sure it will be an exciting experience, also because it will be the first Olympics in my career. I want to thank the sports director Hauptman for giving me this opportunity. I will do my best to come to Tokyo in the best shape possible. I still have some training to do, but there is enough time.
After Tokyo, I will focus on Vuelta and World Championship. I will probably race on some other races in between, but that is something we still have to decide with the team.”
Jan Tratnik is national champion in individual time trial! He was the fastest on the 30 kilometers long route coming to the finish line in front of Jan Polanc and Tadej Pogačar (both UAE-Team Emirates) for 9 and 34 seconds, respectively.
“I’m very happy with the result I achieved on the nationals, but I didn’t feel 100%. The heat made it very difficult to ride our bikes and it was a problem for me too. After half of the race, I didn’t believe I can win because my legs were burning, and I was losing good rhythm. When they told me from the car that I was winning, I got extra motivation to hold up for the next 10 minutes, and then it will be over. It was a good fight with Polanc and Pogačar. I succeeded and got my third national champion title in the time trial. I can’t wait for the next time trial to wear a new jersey.”