“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.)
Foto: Chris Auld Photography