"I was with much lighter and better climbers. So I had to anticipate" - Risk almost rewards Jan Tratnik at Giro d'Italia

Jan Tratnik suffered injuries during the spring which hampered his campaign. The Slovenian is on rising form and put his cards on the table today at the Giro d'Italia; and came quite close to a meaningful stage win in Bocca della Selva.

“I knew I was with much lighter and better climbers. So I had to anticipate. There was no good cooperation in the leading group before the final climb," Tratnik said in words to Eurosport. “It was a good move to attack earlier. I knew it was my best chance to win a stage. I rode very well today, but unfortunately it was not enough for the win.” A move outside of the last 30 kilometers was the Visma rider's plan. He moved by himself, which did not help, but as he held a minute over the first kilometers of the final climb over the closest chasers, it seemed as if it could possibly work.

It was a valiant effort, but the reality is that this was a high-mountain summit finish and, without his best form, Tratnik could not withstand the fast moving French duo of Valentin Paret-Peintre and Romain Bardet who overtook him in the final kilometers. “With four kilometers to go I felt fatigue creeping into my legs. I certainly didn't suddenly feel bad, but I suddenly had a different feeling," he admits. With the toughness of the ascent, it was game over for the stage win as soon as he was caught. "The two pursuers went twice as fast. But I can be happy with this third place.”

It was nevertheless a result that didn't leave Tratnik disappointed, he takes motivation from his near-miss: “I am happy with the condition. This gives confidence for the coming days. Even with five riders, we want and dare to race. We must seize the opportunities with both hands.” The 34-year old already won at the Corsa Rosa back in 2020, and he will certainly try to do so once again.

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