Lourdes had the honor to host the opening round of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz UCI MTB World Cup, for many this was the first race of the season. Unforgivable combination of the strong competition, challenging track and also complications with the uplift was also felt by Jure Žabjek & Žak Gomilšček, who both finished the competition in the qualifications. Jure was very close to the finals, but he’ll need to put in a higher gear to make a real breakthrough.
World Cup season has begun, and it’s going to be again a proper season – with many races and fans along the tape. The riders were excited to have loud spectators by the track, they almost forgot how these feels in the last two years, but unfortunately this wasn’t the only specialty of the race. The organizers obviously strongly underestimated the ratio between the number of riders and capacity of the uplift, which resulted in the long lines and missed practice times. For example, Jure & Žak only did 3 runs on the first day, meanwhile they waited for hours and hours in line. For this track this just wasn’t enough.
Jure & Žak of course had high ambitions for the race and wanted to start a season with a solid result. Jure was close to the final, on the end less than a second short. Jure was 65th, Žak 89th.
Jure Žabjek: “The start of the season didn’t go according to my wishes. I felt good on the bike for the whole weekend in Lourdes, but for sure I didn’t do enough laps. I rode way less than I usually do on the World Cups. I just wanted a nice and clean run in the qualies, but I made a mistake on the flat section and lost speed that I couldn’t get back. I know that I’m very close, but there isn’t any more room for an error, not even in the qualifications. Every tenth of a second counts. I’ll spent more time on my bike in the next weeks and build on my race pace on the smaller races. So I can attack with everything in Fort William, first in the qualies!”
Žak Gomilšček: “I’m disappointed for sure, today’s run wasn’t OK. I always need some time to get in the proper race mode and today I wasn’t there for sure, I didn’t have the right speed. I didn’t do enough runs on the practice and I tried to catch-up in the qualies, but that wasn’t a good plan. I made too many mistakes and with a run like this you just can’t make it in the finals. I’m glad that we now have more time and several races, so I can get in the better form and leave for Fort William in the right race mode.”World Cup continues in May with the event in Fort William, next race for our riders is iXS EDC Lošinj next weekend!”
Photos by Sebastian Sternemann & Grega Stopar