To become a champion in cycling you have to follow precise stages and certain victories have to be built starting from afar. This is the philosophy he has always followed Matej Mohoric, the Slovenian champion convinced that he is not genetically gifted like his compatriots Primož Roglic or Tadej Pogacar and that therefore, as he himself said, every victory is forced to pursue it by working on the details. The masterpiece of his career, so far …, was the Milan-Sanremo, won with a surprise attack along the descent of the Poggio which was part of a very specific plan.
«I’m not as strong as Tadej or Primož, to win I have to try to surprise my opponents; of course it is much more difficult because I have to pay close attention to all the details and then try not to make mistakes ».
Matej made no mistakes in Sanremo, he knew how to wait by choosing the right moment in a race that was always difficult to interpret and predict. Difficult descents are his specialty, but she also knows how to achieve success over long distances and the Spring Classic was the perfect combination of these characteristics.
«I was very concentrated, in the final there were some problems, but in the end I managed to control everything. I skidded first when I took a manhole cover, I missed the last curve downhill but with the dropper I managed to save the trajectory, then at the last curve to enter Via Roma I dropped the chain because I made the wrong gear, but I never lost my clarity and so I realized this incredible dream ».
The Slovenian national champion in those last interminable kilometers that separated him from victory ran without ever turning around, because he knew that this could have turned out to be a fatal mistake. But right in a via Roma crowded with people, Matej had the confirmation that he was looking for, he has conquered the perfect victory.
«I pushed as hard as I could to get back into the group and I succeeded. I know that I ride the bike well, I learned it when I was off-road. Racing with friends on my bike in the mountains, I learned to do the curves and descents very well and that is why I was able to make a difference at Sanremo. The arrival was spectacular, beautiful, with a lot of people on the roads: thanks to everyone who came to see us, in short, we really had a great day ».
The conference first and the party with teammates after. In the parking lot of Sanremo behind the finish line, only the Bahrein Victoriuos bus was left waiting for the winner of the day. When he got off the flagship, the first greeting was with the mechanics and masseurs, while his teammates were all waiting for him on the bus for a big hug.
«It was all beautiful and perfect and after the award ceremony the only thing I wanted was to go to my teammates, to hug them and thank them for such a beautiful day».
In that crazy descent towards Sanremo, a detail of the Slovenian’s bike did not go unnoticed: the dropper or the dropper post.
«I had already tested it at the top of the Poggio and we had seen that it allowed me to have a more aggressive bike ride. I think that once we try it, we will be able to see it much more often on other riders’ bikes as well, because it makes a lot of difference both in training and in the race. It is an advantage that others did not have in the race and that I was able to exploit it thanks to the friends of the FSA who have created a perfect product ».
Matej runs and wins and in the group somehow he is also an animator. Before the Classicissima went live, he first chatted with Pogacar who then launched his deadly attacks and then turning to Davide Formolo he asked him if there was a hospital in Sanremo.
“It’s true, you have to have some fun while running and so I laughed with Tadej and Formolo because we are good friends, and I asked if there had been the hospital before taking the descent, but he didn’t want to be provocative …”.
Among the professionals Matej Mohoric got 16 victories, most of these arrived over a distance that was always close to or greater than 200 km, demonstrating stamina, courage and impressive skills. He is one of those runners capable of winning not only with strength, but also thanks to his temperament and his intelligence, which led him to conquer races in a unique way. The success in Sanremo brought the third Classic Monument to Slovenia. And with that victory Matej is in eighth place in the world rankings: Primož Roglic or Tadej Pogacar are far away, but he is happy and wants to continue having fun in Belgium.
“When it comes to explosiveness, I have no chance against Van Aert and Van der Poel. I’ll have to play my cards right – said the Slovenian who has just arrived in Flanders, where he took fourth place in Harelbeke and ninth in Ghent-Wevelgem, his first appointments-. I’m certainly not a super expert, but I feel right at home in these races. To race on these roads and get results you must always be well positioned and save energy, I can do it even if I just lack a little explosiveness. To some extent I have it, but not like Wout or Mathieu. In a sprint I have no chance against them, so first I have to play my cards without making mistakes ».
But the conversation always comes back to the masterpiece of the descent of the Poggio and his ability to ride a bicycle: “Someone asked me if I skied and if I learned what I can do on skis on skis: in reality I can ski a bit like all Slovenians, but the best school is was that of the woods, when as kids we hurled ourselves downhill fast ».
Matej is a runner who not only enjoys humming the James Bond movie soundtrack when in a group, but knows a lot and loves learning new ones all the time. so much so that it has earned the nickname of Matej-pedia.
“That’s the nickname Wout Poels gave me some time ago. I always want to know everything: about the material, but also about the universe or something like that, I’m someone who needs to know the facts. Then when someone in the group asks a question, everyone says: ask Matej-pedia. He will know ».
Mohoric too, as well as all of Bahrain Victorious, went from the joy of victory to the deepest despair for what happened but Sonny Colbrelli.
“It was a blow to everyone. Not because we lost a great rider for the Classics, but because his life was at stake. I have been running with Sonny since 2018, I know him very well. When something like this happens, the whole perspective suddenly changes. Now it is up to the doctors to give him the answers he asks, but whether or not he will compete again is of secondary importance to me. Running is important, but not as important as life ».
And on the Brescia driver’s accident, he adds: «It seemed like a really bad situation, but soon – after about an hour, I’d say – we realized that the worst was never behind us. I even talked to him that night: he was fine, he wasn’t even in shock or something. Sonny just didn’t remember anything. I thought I found him terrified after having lived that experience, but Colbrelli is not afraid. He was less shocked than the rest of the team ».
from tuttoBICI in April