After downhill opener in Maribor we also got first cross-country winners of the season. Races in Albstadt were very intense, especially on Sunday when the weather proved to be very unstable. Tanja’s outcome from the weekend is 33rd place on short track race and 26th place from the XCO race.
Tanja was 33rd on the Friday’s short track race, which is nothing tragic, but that meant she had to start for further back on Sunday. That and combination of reserved start didn’t mean anything good at first, but she found the right rhythm in the middle of the race and start advancing. She took 26th place on the end, but even more important – Tanja showed proper racing attitude in the second half of the race.
Tanja Žakelj: “The ice is broken, I’m glad we are finally at this point. Start was not good, but also not bad… In fact I can say that for the whole race. Some of the girls that were around me in the start loop managed to get very high, which means that a lot was possible with the right pace and aggressive riding. I had a solid feeling about my performance, especially in the second half of the race. I was also overtaking more in the last laps. I can say that I was racing with feeling and at my today’s optimum.”
Nobody had a perfect race today in Albstadt, even the later winner Kate Courtney went on the ground. Tanja had her share of problems, but she got her lesion in the very beginning: “I got quite a scare in the first lap when I lost my front wheel on the wood. But I managed to save the situation and after that I knew how careful we have to be on those section. The whole track was very slippery after that night rain, it was way worse than on the practice. I did some mistakes, which means I went out of my comfort zone and I did take some risk, and I think I did the best that was possible today.”
Track was more or less dry throughout the weekend, everything changed on Saturday night after heavy rainfall. Organizers used a lot of wood this year and those sections were especially tricky. Tanja would prefer to have natural terrain, she’s much better on roots and rocks than she is on the wood and chicken wire.
“This is not the result that would made me happy, but at the same time I’m not disappointed. It’s a solid start,” also said Tanja after the race. She finished the race in 26th and holds the same position in the overall standings. She will leave Albstadt today and get ready for the next race in Czech Republic in a weeks time. Tanja ahead of Nové Mesto na Morave: “I’ll go way more relaxed on the second race of the World Cup. I think I found the right rhythm now and I have the right self-confidence. It’s important to get a good rest now and get ready for the next races.”
Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup Albstadt – Tanja Žakelj’s results:
Short track – 33rd place
XCO – 26th place
Overall standings – 26th place
Photos by Grega Stopar
SHORT TRACK GALLERY