Start of the race was fantastic, Tanja Žakelj was seventh on the end of the start loop, in between even fifth. Legs became heavy after that, but Tanja still had a full six laps till the end. Tanja Žakelj: “I was there with the best in the start loop, after that my legs weren’t right anymore. I don’t have anything to blame on myself, I can even say that I gave more than a week ago on the race in Nove Mesto, and I have to be happy with that.”
Tanja is not used to this kind of heat yet, and this for sure influenced her performance and result in Albstadt. At the same time the race was long and in combination with the bad day the result could easily be much worse. But Tanja battled, even when she was already thinking that she will not see the finish line today.
Competition doesn’t rest and Tanja is among those who like that: “It’s obvious that we are very close to each other. I’m racing in better and worse positions, but there are new girls around me all the time. Names on the top vary on the conditions and specifications of the track, and of course we see new names coming with year. This is what makes our sport interesting!”
Yana Belomoina from Ukraine won the race and surprised almost everybody. Yana and Tanja have a long history of racing battles, they had been on many of the same races also in this spring. “I’m really happy for Yana, we raced together a lot and this is a proof that I was doing a good job in the winter time. I’m happy for her from my hearth, last week she was on the podium for the first time ever, today she won the World Cup race.”
XCO riders will now go on a short World Cup break, it will be time for two downhill events. Tanja will go home full of positive thoughts: “I’m motivated, I know I can race for high positions. I had a great race in Nove Mesto and also a great result. Today I had shown that I can be with the fastest right from the start. I’ll take positive things from all of this and work hard to put together a really perfect result on one of the following World Cups!”
Photos by Grega Stopar