Another Belgian classic was on the schedule today, the Brabantse Pijl. However, the racing conditions were not ideal as most of the time was raining and the road was very slippery. After 200 kilometers of racing, Magnus Sheffield (INEOS Grenadiers) was the first to cross the finish line. Quite a number of riders didn’t finish the race, Tratnik among them.
“I simply didn’t feel good today. After Amstel Gold Race I was very tired and obviously, I didn’t fully recover. The rain made the legs even stiffer and when we came to the final laps, I just couldn’t follow the best riders. Instead of keeping up with the best, I was losing positions. I didn’t have the right power and energy and that’s why I quickly lost contact with the peloton. I’m not disappointed because I gave it all and the first part of the season was very successful. I’m going back home now to rest and recover. After that, I’m focusing on Giro d’Italia.”
Also, the fans are focusing on Giro d’Italia. We created a special limited-edition shirt “Grande Syuk” for that occasion. You can order it in the shop and support Jan on Giro. The race will also lead the riders through Slovenia and that’s something we are really looking forward to.
Racing continues in the Netherlands at the Ardennes Classics. Amstel Gold Race was on the schedule today in total of 254 km from Maastricht to Valkenburg. Around 50 km to the finish line, the peloton broke into smaller groups. Tratnik had some mechanical troubles and remained in the second group. Nevertheless, he fought to the finish line and crossed it in 12 place, less than half a minute behind the winner, Michal Kwiatkowski (INEOS Grenadiers). Benoit Cosnefroy (AG2R Citroen Team) was second after a tight finish line.
“I came very motivated to the race. We had a very strong team and more scenarios prepared. Unfortunately, I had some bad luck because I had to change the bike twice at the time when the peloton speeded up. I spent quite some energy coming back. I was also lucky because I wasn’t involved in a crash, but still, I had to pull the brakes and stop. I lost a lot of positions and thus some energy, which I could use in the finale. When we came in the last 60 km I felt I didn’t eat enough and didn’t feel good. I tried to eat some gels and recover but I was in deficit all the time so I couldn’t follow the key attack. I went solo then and tried to catch the first group, but I didn’t have enough power. Despite all the bad luck, I’m happy but I know I could be better. I will race Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday and then I’m going home for a quick rest and last preparations before Giro d’Italia.”
JT Team also started gearing up for Giro. We created a limited-edition shirt Grande Syuk 2022, which you can get in a preorder. Check out the Shop for more information here!
“De Ronde is one of the biggest races and we exceeded our expectations. I knew our conditions is very good, but things can quickly go wrong at such great and legendary race. We all know it’s important to start the cobbles sections and narrow roads in the first ten positions. The problem is that the whole peloton knows that. There are crashes and the race is lost easily. You could be the strongest, but you can be out of competition for the best results very quickly.
My race was quite calm for the first 150 km. I was saving energy for the last 100 km when the real racing actually begins. I made quite some mistakes because I started the cobbles sections in the back but on the other hand, I was also lucky. There were quite some crashes, and I wasn’t involved in any. Also, I was there at the key moments, I stayed focused and managed to start these sections more in front. I held a good position when we passed Kwaremont the second time, which allowed me to attack on Paterberg. You never know when “the” moment on this race is. Unfortunately, that was not the one. I couldn’t follow Pogačar. We had Fred in front then, so Dylan and I were just controlling things in the back. There was a lot of attacks, also in our group, but Dylan and I mutually covered them. Unfortunately, my attack was not successful, but it was the one of Dylan who managed to join Fred and then they raced for the best results. I stayed in this group and controlled the situation. I think I did a good sprint at the finish line, but there just wasn’t any power left in the tank. Also, I sprinted with some of the greatest sprinters and I’m not a sprinter. Bottom line, I’m happy with my performance. I was there in some key moments, I attacked and, in some way, shaped the race. Maybe, with a little bit more luck, the final result would’ve been better but most important for me is that I know I can race for the best results in this race. This gives me additional motivation to dedicate some more time and energy preparing for those races because apparently, I can be good at it. I’m leaving Belgium extremely happy, motivated, and very excited for the Ardennes. I will race Amstel Gold Race on Sunday, and then Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday.
To all cycling fans… I highly recommend you go and see the race live. The experience can’t be described with words. Each time we rode Kwaremont I got goose bumps. Even though it stank of beer, Belgium really is the home of cycling. It doesn’t matter if you cross the finish line first or last, you are a hero for them. Just because you are on a start of such a legendary race.”
(Jan left his mark at De Ronde with his race style and 12. place in the end.)