Jan Tratnik finished outside the top 10 of Volta Limburg Classic (1.1), but he put on the show on the Dutch roads, chasing solo the winning breakaway.
Info: April 1st, Eijsden – Eijsden, 198,6km
Weather: rainy, chilly
Course: undulating with punchy climbs, narrow, twisty roads
Races in Netherlands are always unique and they play out according to an unusual scenario. That was the case also in 2017 edition of Volta Limburg Classic. After a lively opening, a 17-man breakaway was formed and Simone Ponzi was one of the attackers.
They were not let go by the bunch, which kept the escape on a one-minute leash and eventually brought them back in with 90km to go. New attacks were being launched and CCC Sprandi Polkowice riders were riding attentively and made sure that none of the breaks goes away without a representative of the “orange squad”.
This is when Jan Tratnik and Frantisek Sisr managed to go clear as a part of the 26-man group. When it split apart Tratnik was able to keep up the pace. He entered final 40km of racing in the chasing group, which was one minute behind Marco Canola (Nippo – Vini Fantini), Xandro Meurisse (Wanty – Groupe Gobert), Martijn Tusveld (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij), Nick van der Lijke (Roompot – Nederlandse Loterij). Later on the quartet transformed into trio, when Tusveld got dropped.
With 19km to go Tratnik decided to pull away on one of the last climbs of the day and started his solo chase. He was hanging between two groups, but eventually was caught 3km from the line, on the final 5-kilometer lap in Eijsden.
At that point Canola, Meurisse and van der Lijke had over a minute of advantage, so they could be certain to have a podium spot in the pocket. The finishing gently uphill straight was paved with cobbles and it saw Canola sprint for the win. Meurisse claimed 2nd and van der Lijke 3rd.
Jan Tratnik was digging deep to stay in the chasing group after he got reeled in and took 12th at the line.
Many riders in the chasing group didn’t want to cooperate, so I decided to attack and make a selection. I was hoping that those riders who are eager to work, will follow me, but they didn’t. I had to go all or nothing and I tried to either catch the leading trio or at least outpace the group and take 4th. Unfortunately after my move the riders started to collaborate, which is something I don’t really understand. When I got reeled in I was trying to save some energy for the sprint, but I was suffering from cramps and I couldn’t go any faster in the finale. I gave my all – Jan Tratnik explained.