Victories are like busses, you wait for one and suddenly five come along at the same time. Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) had to wait four years for his first professional win, but he can look back on this season with a smile after securing five of them in 2014. After a ground-breaking year for the Pole, he is looking to go even better in 2015.
"I still have to work on some key areas, if I want to become even stronger in the big stage races," Majka said. "During the winter, I will focus on my time trial. Both the team and I know that there are still quite a lot of seconds to gain here. I'm really motivated and I share the same big ambitions as the team. We want to deliver results in the races of 2015 and perhaps I will also look into doing some of the Classics in the future."
Majka showed his potential with seventh at last year's Giro d’Italia and spent eight days in the young rider's jersey. He went one better this time around, with sixth overall. Majka's next big focus was meant to be the Vuelta a España but he was drafted in at the last minute to replace Roman Kreuziger in the team's Tour de France line-up. The Polish rider criticized his team for the change in roster, but made a quick about-face and retracted his comments the following day. He may have upset the management with his initial comments but he more than made up for it with two stage wins – the first professional wins of his career – and the mountain’s classification.
The 25-year-old later went on to become the first rider in more than a decade to win the Tour de Pologne. The season's efforts took their toll and he called an end to his year at the end of August.
"I'm really satisfied with my season. In the previous years, I've done well, worked hard for the team and gotten some good personal results. But now I've started winning, which was the one thing missing in the past years. The team has supported me and I was able to step up," said Majka.
"Since USA Pro Challenge, I haven't done any races. But I had a very hard schedule in the first half of the season with two Grand Tours. So for me to improve even more, I had to rest and recover. I've been training 2-3 hours a day to maintain my strength, and when the entire team gathers on Gran Canaria, I'll start preparing for 2015."