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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Janez Brajkovic (Astana)
Astana back Dane for Tour GC
Brajkovic finished ninth in last year’s Tour but has struggled to find his top form this year. However the all-rounder is looking forward to racing with less pressure and helping Fuglsang – who finished fourth in the Dauphiné - deliver on his GC aspirations.
“Mentally I’m not in the same position as last year. Then I had a few good results before the Tour and I was very self-confident,” Brajkovic told Cyclingnews.
“That’s not the case this year so at this point I really don’t know where I am. All the information from training says I’m pretty good but I have to show that in the race. I’m still waiting for that conformation.”
“I had a pretty rough start to the year and the winter was bad. The spring was bad with the weather and that I think affected me more than most other riders. Then I got sick and had to skip the Giro. I’m not going to say that I was unlucky but it was just one bad thing after another. Hopefully better days are on the horizon though.”
Brajkovic still managed a respectable 14th place in the Tour de Suisse, showing himself with a strong individual time trial in the race. The former Dauphiné winner is now hoping to carry the shoot of his good form into a blossoming Tour de France.
“I was suffering from a few allergies a bit which was quite unusual for that time of year but overall I was okay, especially with the final time trial. I would have liked to have ridden better in the race but I’m hoping to do better here.
“I’ll try and lose as little time as possible in the first week and then try and help Jakob as much as possible in the mountains. Maybe I’ll be able to do a result for myself or maybe go in a break or win a stage, but I can be more relaxed this year without as much pressure. I think I do a pretty good job.
“I don’t think I’ll be protected. I think I’ll have a free role. I won’t be doing all the work on the front in the flat stages to protect Jakob. That wouldn’t make sense as I’m a light rider and not really a powerhouse but my role will be to help him in the mountains.”