“Great finish makes everything look good! I really had a good race on the World Cup finals in Andorra,” said Tanja Žakelj after the race. She took 8th, which is her second best of the season – she was 7th in Mont-Sainte-Anne – and a great result for end of the season. Just like in Canada she was again racing in the proper battle-ready mode and deserved another top-10 finish. She also climbed on the overall standings and is now 18th.
“I can easily say this was my best World Cup race in 2016 season. Some girls skipped race in Canada, but all of them were here. I also don't like the conditions on the high altitude, I never did. Track is also not my favorite, but on every race you have to give your best and today I really did this. It was an excellent race,” said Tanja after the race.
Tanja started from the third row, but got to the front in moments – she catapulted her with great force, but also with control. She kept contact with fastest on the first long climb and then rode in her own pace.
It was sunny and worm throughout the weekend, but the heavy rain on Saturday night spiced up everything – some sections in the forest were still slippery, but the choice of tires was right and Tanja didn’t have any problems. Her race was actually pretty calm – except for the battle with other riders of course. Rok Jurca and Urban Ferenčak also didn’t have any but usual work in the feed zone.
Tanja was around seventh/eight for most of the race, big part of the race she was just behind or just ahead of Yana Belomoina. This is Tanja’s comment on her result in Vallnord: “Result is consequence of my racing, my mistakes and my strong points on the race. I think I was in control from start to the finish. Of course I always had at least one rider in sight and that helped me go faster. I’m very happy with eight place finish.”
Time to rest? Not really, Tanja will go to Triglav – highest mountain in Slovenia – in the next days. “To officially become a Slovenian,” she adds. It’s a tradition in Slovenia that you are not a real Slovenian if you didn’t climb to the top of Triglav. After that she will have time to rest, do some smaller races and go to Roc d’Azur. Season ends with the race and a big rock concert in her hometown Ledine.
Jolanda Neff took victory today, while Catharine Pendrel won the overall.
Results on the UCI website
Official website of the event
Reply of the race on Red Bull TV
UTT on Facebook
Photos by Keith Valentine & Grega Stopar