With his second place in the 14th stage of the Giro d'Italia, 28 year old Tadej Valjavec (Phonak) celebrated the biggest success of his career to date. With it the Slovenian's Giro, which up until now has been disappointing, has been saved.
After finishing ninth overall last year, Tadej Valjavec envisaged finishing in the top six. He geared his entire training towards this tour, but until last Friday, saw no results. Now Valjavec has progressed up the leader board with his fifth place on Saturday and his second place on Sunday. It won't be enough for a top 10 GC place, but Valjavec is still happy with his result thanks to his efforts in the two stages: "I can now take a relaxed approach into the final week," he said.
How do you rate this success? "For me this second place is like a win. The feeling of success is very important for me and it came at just the right moment. I was ill, had come off my bike and my self-confidence had diminished. I wanted one thing: To go home. But everyone said to me that I can still ride well. There is still one week left of the Giro. Thanks to the 13th and 14th stages I am happy with my achievement"
How did you manage to motivate yourself for these difficult stages through the dolomites after the lows? I don't really know myself where I suddenly gained the self-confidence to attack. My family and entourage motivated me. But most of all, I think it was a higher power that helped me."
How did you find today's stage? "It was very difficult, yet also the nicest stage of this year's Giro. In summer I often train here around Livigno. I know a lot of people here and really like the scenery. I wanted to ride well here. I succeeded in it and I am overjoyed."