Last day of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Switzerland was reserved for cross-country, so it was no surprise to see thousands of Swiss fans on the venue in Lenzerheide. They simply have so many amazing XC talents and people want to support them.
Our focus was not on Swiss athletes, but on Tanja Žakelj who had her share of ups and downs in the first part of the season. In a way her race today was also like this – with great start, slow middle and fantastic finish of the race. She finished in 18th and with lots of positive things that she can work on in the next weeks.
Tanja Žakelj said this about her race: “Today’s race was exactly what I want, but it was a step forward and this makes me happy. I struggled after a good start, third and fourth laps were those where I lost most time and places. Last two laps were again better, especially the last lap where I gain the most. I didn’t had a feeling that I’m so much faster, but analysis showed that I was. I hope I will transfer feelings from last part of this race to the next and finish higher.”
Tanja got instructions to drink more from her team, and might be one of the reasons for better performance in the last two laps. After all it was another hot day in Swiss Alps and the thirst was bigger than usual.
Tanja climbed the overall ladder a little bit after today’s race, but she is still in the second or third line on the start. We now have a short break in the World Cup (in August we travel to Canada & USA), but Tanja has to focus on the upcoming European Championships in Italy.
Tanja Žakelj is defending champ, but this year she isn’t as strong: “I have to be realistic about the European Champs, World Cup is a good indicator of my form and I can’t do miracles in next 14 days. But I can do another step forward, like I did from the last World Cup race to here. It’s hard to imagine I can do three in a row, but the fact is that I never lost a race in Alpago and I will start with positive thoughts.”
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa won the race and set a new record with 29 World Cup victories. Jaroslav Kulhavy won the men race.
Results & standings (link to UCI)
Official site of the World Cup in Lenzerheide
Replay of the race on Red Bull TV
Unior Tools Team on Facebook
Photos by Klemen Humar & Grega Stopar
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