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.”
Photo: Personal archive & Bettini Photos