A podium result after a long break from racing
After a break of more than three months, five riders from Team Bahrain-McLaren competed at Slovenia’s national road championships last Sunday. These five riders animated the race, with Matej Mohoric finishing in 3rd and winning the Bronze medal.
In mid March, the riders of Team Bahrain-McLaren had been performing impressively at the Paris-Nice stage race before the race had to be stopped prematurely due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Ever since the race circuit came to a grinding halt around the world. The notable exception were some virtual races held on smart rollers: Both Grega Bole and Fred Wright managed to win one race each. Last Sunday, the Slovenian national road championships were raced, signaling a first step back to normal for competitive cycling. Under slight rain the championship race was leading over seven mostly flat loops before the conclusive eight-kilometer climb was to decide the race.
Due to the race profile two climbing specialists were seen as the clear-cut favourites with Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar. Team Bahrain-McLaren on the other hand had the luxury of fielding no less than five riders with Grega Bole, Matej Mohoric, Luka Pibernik, Jan Tratnik and defending champion Domen Novak. After the long weeks with no racing, these five riders aimed to animate the race. Early on Jan Tratnik made it into the four-man group of the day, But despite the best efforts of this strong rouleur, the peloton kept the gap to the group at three minutes as a maximum. In the finale the group split in half, and Jan Tratnik entered the final ascent with one companion and a lead of roughly half a minute.
These 30 seconds proved as not being sufficient as Primoz Roglic upped the pace early on in the main group. The only rider who managed to get back briefly was Tadej Pogacar while Matej Mohoric opted to tackle the climb at his own pace instead. Tratnik got caught and passed with 3 kilometers to go and finished the race in 8th place. Behind the two pre-race favourites, Matej Mohoric got to celebrate a third place and a Bronze medal. With defending champion Domen Novak in 5th, another rider of Team Bahrain-McLaren made it into the top5.
Two days before the national championships a criterium was held in the roads of Ljubljana. In this format, the rider who collects most points at the intermediate sprints and the final sprint wins. In the end the victory was for sprint specialist Luka Mezgec, but Team Bahrain-McLaren managed to get two riders on the podium with Marco Haller in 2nd and Matej Mohoric in 3rd.
SLOVENIAN NATIONAL ROAD CHAMPIONSHIPS, MEN ELITE:
CERKIJE - AMBROZ POD KRVAVCEM (145.8KM)
1. Primoz Roglic, SLO, in 3:30.54 hours
2. Tadej Pogacar, SLO, + 0.10
3. Matej Mohoric, SLO/TEAM BAHRAIN-McLAREN, + 0.39
4. Janez Brajkovic, SLO, + 0.53
5. Domen Novak, SLO/TEAM BAHRAIN-McLAREN, + 1.13