Tanja never before lost the race in Alpago, Italy, and she came to the championships as the defending champion. To get “third in a row” would be a dream come true, but we all knew this is going to be very hard to achieve. That didn’t take her courage and she started the race with determination in her eyes and was racing very good all the way to the end. In the start of the race she was in the group behind Jolanda Neff, battling for medals. In the middle of the race she lost contact with Eva Lechner and fellow Slovenian Blaža Klemenčič – silver & bronze in the finish – and made sure she will go home with fourth.
Tanja Žakelj after the race:
“I was very close today. But I’m even happier that I really had a good race today – I was racing in the full meaning of the word. I felt good right from the start, without any fear of competitors or the track. I did my best!”
“I was with the best right from the start, and I felt good in this battle for the medals. I could follow Eva in the start, but couldn’t pass her. After she attacked I stayed behind, I had some short moments of crisis there. But I was fully confident that I will be strong in the last part of the race and was just pushing and pushing. Some very good riders from the World Cup were behind me, so I look forward to the rest of the season.”
Official website of the European XCO Championships
Photos by Grega Stopar
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