More freedom for Majka at Bora as Giro d'Italia targeted

A new kit, a new team but Rafal Majka will have similar objectives in 2017 with the Polish rider set to target the Giro d'Italia once more before tackling the Tour de France in July.

The 27-year-old finished fifth in this year's Giro before claiming a second polka-dot jersey at the Tour in July. With a move from Tinkoff to Bora-Hansgrohe alongside Peter Sagan now confirmed, Majka laid out his upcoming objectives at the recent Saitama Criterium in Japan.

"I need to prepare really well if I do the Giro next year and the Tour. I think the objective will again be the Giro. The parcours is harder than in 2016 but I hope for good weather and that my preparation goes well. I'll need some help from my team and we've got climbs like the Stelvio in there, for example, so support will be important. It's going to be a hard season," he told a small gathering of journalists.

With the Tinkoff team disbanding, Majka became one of the most sought after riders on the market this summer. A number of teams, including Bahrain Merida and Bora, expressed interested but the Olympic road race bronze medallist signed for the German outfit. He will lead their GC ambitions in stage races alongside Leopold Konig, who returns to the squad after two mediocre years with Team Sky. With more freedom at Bora, Majka is hoping to have more of a freehand in races, although he is aware that domestique duties will play a part too.

"I've a lot of teammates moving there and I think I'm also going to have more of a freehand. There will of course be some races where I'll need to work for my teammates, like the Tour de France but in the rest of the season I'll have more freedom in some races. I'll need to prepare really well and things will be different compared to Tinkoff."

Bora's overall ambitions, like their budget, have broadened immensely with the team set to step up from the Pro Continental ranks to the WorldTour scene in 2017. In total, they have signed eight riders from Tinkoff. Meshing the old and new faces will be high on the squad's priorities this winter and a mini-camp has already taken place with a more extensive one planned next month.

"We've had a training camp. It was three days but really nice and I met my new teammates. We've got some really big objectives for next year but I've still got time to prepare my full calendar."

After a long season, Majka is understandably looking forward to a rest but is satisfied with his 2016 campaign. 

"The objective this year was the top three in the Giro but a top five is still OK. I still won the Polish championships, had a very nice Tour de France and then there was the Olympics. I can be happy with my season."

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