Tanja Žakelj

RACING: XCO, XCC       AGE: 32      HOME TOWN: LEDINE, SLOVENIA

 

How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I am a relaxed, easy going and very time efficient person, therefore I am able to work super hard and be very focused when that is the most necessary and important.

Best moment of 2020 season?
This moment came on the race on which I think I was the strongest in the whole year. No matter how much I worked and wanted to be faster on the World Cups later in the autumn. This race was C1 race in Kocevje, Slovenija, where I was able to control the pace in the front and then did a strong final attack on the short, but steep climb few minutes before crossing the finish line in front of Yana Belomoina.

Your goal for this season?
I will be happy if the season 2021 will be at least 50% more normal that 2020 was. If my race plan stays on the plan, then I wish to be at my best on the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Next to that I really look forward to the World Championships in Val di Sole.

Your main inspirations?
My family, friends, team. Especially the team is really important on the race venues to strengthen the felling of striving for the same goal and therefore, I can go over my limits on the races.

Growing up, who did you most like to emulate on your riding?
I started to ride cross–country when I was 14 and I always tried to learn from riders with better technical skills. First that were members of National team, from 2013 on I learned a lot from my teammates in Unior Tools Team.

If you could transfer your riding skills to any other sport, what would it be?
Probably skiing… if only wasn’t too cold.

Favorite post–race snack?
A pancake with vanilla ice–cream and chocolate dressing.

Favorite race?
The race I will never forget is a World Cup race in Nove Mesto na Morave from 2013. I have won a World Cup race there for the first time. I crashed over the rocks on the Rock’n’Roll section a lap before finish. Then it started to rain and Maja Wloszczowska, who was riding on my wheel, crashed in the last turn before the finish line. It was an awesome race and I remember it like it was yesterday.

Favorite place to ride?
Home trails and some really nicely built trails in Ajdovšcina, Slovenia, where I train a lot in winter time. I only ride on limits on the trails I know well and these feelings are the best.

RACING HIGHLIGHTS
9th – World Champs Leogang 2020
20th – World Cup Nove Mesto na Morave #1&#2 2020
4th overall – Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2020
1st – Slovenian National Champs 2020
8th – World Champs Mont–Saine–Anne 2019
8th – World Cup Val di Sole 2019
16th – World Cup Les Gets 2019
1st – National Champs 2019
10th – World Cup La Bresse 2018
Military World Champion – 2018
10th – World Championships Cairns 2017
7th – World Cup Mont–Sainte–Anne 2017
8th – European XCO Championships 2017
13th – Olympic Games Rio 2016
7th – World Cup Mont–Sainte–Anne 2016
8th – World Cup Andorra/Vallnord 2016
6th – World Cup Windham 2015
9th – World Cup Mont–Sainte–Anne 2015
4th – European XCO Championships Alpago 2015
European XCO Champion, St. Wendel 2014
4th – World Championships Hafjell 2014
3rd overall – CI MTB World Cup XCO 2014
Overall UCI MTB World Cup winner XCO women elite 2013
1st – World Cup Nove Mesto na Morave 2013
1st – World Cup Val di Sole 2013
European XCO Champion, Bern 2013
10th – Olympic Games London 2012
Multiple National Champion
Multiple National Cup Winner