Rafal Majka is one of the contenders to assume Alberto Contador’s position of Grand Tour team leader at Tinkoff-Saxo when the Spaniard retires at the end of the 2016. The Polish rider had a successful 2014 that saw him take six victories, including the overall classification at his home race, the Tour de Pologne, two stages at the Tour de France and climber's polka-dot jersey. Despite his success and being in his fifth season as a professional, Majka insists he still has a lot to learn.
“I don't know, I have good teammates like Alberto Contador and I need to still learn from him about what it is like to be a big rider,” Majka told Cyclingnews when asked if he could step into the shoes of Contador.
Majka has been on the ascendency over the past two years, beginning with seventh overall and second in the best young rider classification at the 2013 Giro d’Italia. He followed that up with his best season to date, which saw him improve to sixth at the Giro last May. Despite reluctantly becoming part of the Tinkoff-Saxo Tour de France team he went on to take his two stage wins and the polka dot-jersey. He then completed a great summer by becoming the first home grown winner of the Tour de Pologne in 11 years. He knows that his results mean the team will increasingly be looking to him for more success in 2015.
“Now I need to do something more and maybe step up and get some more results for the team. For sure something is coming but I don’t know when,” he said.
After an action packed second half of the season, the 25-year-old decided to call an end to his year after the USA Pro Challenge at the end of August and skip the world championships. He’s enjoyed a lengthy off-season, beginning his 2015 campaign at the Tour of Oman this week. Majka finished in leading group on stage two, driving some of the attacks that ultimately split the bunch over the final two climbs.
The split ended the general classification hopes of several of the lead contenders but there is still plenty to play for with the definitive Green Mountain summit finish on Friday. While Majka has made himself one of the favourites after his performance on stage two, he is reluctant to put too much emphasis on the overall classification in Oman.
Born in Ireland to a cycling family and later moved to the Isle of Man, so there was no surprise when I got into the sport. Studied sports journalism at university before going on to do a Masters in sports broadcast. After university I spent three months interning at Eurosport, where I covered the Tour de France. In 2012 I started at Procycling Magazine, before becoming the deputy editor of Procycling Week. I then joined Cyclingnews, in December 2013.
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