Some riders are simply better than their peers. Some have hot streaks, periods of form or good seasons. Matej Mohorič has it all, and on Friday’s Queen Stage at the 2023 Cro Race, he proved it yet again.
Slovenia, France, Poland, Belgium, and now Croatia: Matej has won in each of his last five multi-day races. It’s an extraordinary record and makes 2023 his most successful season of an already glittering career, with the overall at Tour de Pologne added to those stage victories.
On the short but tough cobbled final climb to the line in Labin, the Slovenian launched a perfectly-timed sprint to move to the front of the select leading group and held off Magnus Sheffield (IGD) to win the day by a bike length.
Afterwards, the 28 year old reflected.
“On a climb like that, it’s really important to commit fully and give everything all the way to the line, and that’s what I did.”
As well as his form, his talent, and his race craft, Mohorič did reveal that there was a secret weapon he had been saving for today’s most prestigious stage of the race…
“I have just been here on vacation. I was training on these roads every day, and I rode this climb twice a day for nine days, so I knew it pretty well! There aren’t so many roads here, so I did it over and over again!”
As the reigning champion, our leader had hoped to retain his title, but Bahrain’s week started badly when he was caught in a crash just ahead of him on the opening stage. With no possibility of avoiding the rider on the floor, he also went down and lost 48”. On a race with straightforward profiles for 5/6 days, that’s a gap almost impossible to make up.
“We wanted to bounce back and show how committed we are as a team, even though things sometimes don’t go our way. Unfortunately, the crash of the guy in front of me on day one cost us the GC because I think otherwise we would have had a very good chance to win the race overall again. But we didn’t lose our motivation, and it’s such an important value in life to remain determined and do your best even when you lose the chance to achieve your original objectives.
Johan Price-Pejtersen fell today and was taken to hospital for further checks which thankfully revealed no serious injury. Despite that, it was another superb performance from each and every rider in our line-up.
The six supporting riders protected Mohorič from kilometre zero and positioned him perfectly at the crucial moment.
“The guys did a very good job today. Fran [Miholjević] showed a lot of commitment, as did Nicolò [Buratti] and Rainer [Kepplinger]. Metevž [Govekar] and Filip [Maciejuk] too – I think we proved we came here with business to do”