Combative Tratnik third in tenth stage Giro d'Italia

Combative Tratnik third in tenth stage Giro d'Italia

Jan Tratnik finished third at the top of Bocca della Selva. The 34-year-old Slovenian battled for the stage win in the Giro d'Italia for a long time, but he eventually was passed by Romain Bardet and stage winner Valentin Paret-Peintre in the closing kilometres.

Before the start of the second Giro week, Team Visma | Lease a Bike lost Olav Kooij. The winner of the ninth stage fell ill during the rest day. “It is of course a big disappointment for us”, sports director Marc Reef reacted to Kooij leaving the race. “Winning stages was our main goal and Olav was very important for that. His crash in the second stage was already a setback, but when we managed to win the sprint in Naples with him, we wanted to go for more. It is a pity for us, but especially for Olav himself. He had been working towards his first Grand Tour for months. But we will definitely keep going for it. With Cian Uijtdebroeks we are well placed in the GC and he still wears the white jersey. Furthermore, opportunities will come in the stages suited for breakaways.”

Without Kooij, the peloton set off from historic town of Pompeï for 142 kilometres towards Cusano Mutri. The finish line was drawn at the top of the Bocca della Selva, an 18-kilometre first category climb. Ahead of the Camposauro, the first categorised climb of the day, a large breakaway group formed, including Tratnik. The Slovenian and his fellow breakaway riders gained several minutes on the peloton, which did not compete for the stage win.

With 35 kilometres to go, Tratnik decided to anticipate the long final climb. He quickly gained a one-minute lead, but French chasers Bardet and Paret-Peintre continued to put pressure. The Team Visma | Lease a Bike rider was eventually caught by the two chasers two kilometres from the line.

"After all the bad luck we already had, we showed resilience again"

Jan Tratnik

“I knew there were better climbers than me in that group, so that's why I decided to anticipate”, Tratnik responded afterwards. “With four kilometres to go, I started to feel the fatigue in my legs. When I looked back, I saw them approaching fast. It ended up being a struggle until the finish to keep my third place, but I can look back on this performance with satisfaction. After all the bad luck we already had, we showed resilience again. There are still chances to come and we will try to seize them.”

In the group of the main GC favourites, Cian Uijtdebroeks experienced a difficult moment in the finale. The 21-year-old leader of the young riders classification lost a few seconds to his rivals, but he remains fifth in the overall classification after today. “It was a tough day in the peloton. The other teams with GC ambitions didn't make it easy for us. Sometimes I was a bit too far back at the important moments. At the end I didn’t feel super fresh anymore. Everyone has a bad day in a Grand Tour. If this turns out to be mine, I am satisfied that my time losses are limited”, the Belgian concluded.

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