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Home of cycling: the Flanders

The 100th anniversary World Championship took place this weekend in Belgium. It was marked by an extraordinary atmosphere, which you can only experience in Belgium, they say. Elite men, ITT was won by Filippo Ganna (Italy), while the Slovenians – Tadej Pogačar and Jan Tratnik took 10th and 15th place, respectively. The time trial was mostly flat and relatively long, 43.4 km). The spectacular road race from Antwerp to Leuven (a total of 268.3 km) was designed as a Belgium classic and was won by Julian Alaphilippe (France). The best Slovenian was Matej Mohorič, who took 14th place.

“World Championship was my last race of this season. I rode a really good ITT, especially considering my characteristics. I’m still haunted by those 10 seconds that made me miss the top 10. Nevertheless, it also gives me extra motivation to work even harder for the upcoming time trials.

As for the road race, I can say it was total chaos. Our team raced excellently, but the route was so difficult that you simply shouldn’t make any mistakes. You had to ride in front all the time because of all the crashes, corners, accelerations, and narrow roads. If you stayed behind, you spent way more energy than the guys in front. It was necessary to race smart. I’m happy with how I raced. You could see that no team wanted to control the race, and that is why attacks started already 180 km to the finish. There was a very strong breakaway, including me and Primož. Unfortunately, the Italians missed it and then chased us down. I’m still wondering how it would be if some of them were there with us. I was still very active in the race after they caught us. I tried to control the race and help Matej save as much energy as possible for the finals.

Then I was again part of a small breakaway, but I spent all my energy there. I’m still very happy with how I raced, how we raced as a team and the atmosphere. We really get along with the guys. Matej was 14th at the end, which is a nice result, but we all probably hoped for more. However, sport is not PlayStation. All guys at the start are really strong, and small things at the end make the difference. We should be all happy and proud because each one of us gave his all, and that’s the most important. We will keep fighting, and I believe, one day, we will get this medal.

The season is over now, and I will take a month-long break. I will go on the bike, MTB but no pressure – I will listen to myself and my motivation to ride. Also, I hope I will be able to go on holidays somewhere to completely relax and come back fresh and ready to start training for next season.”

Photo: Personal archive, Jonathan Rich, Bettini Photos