Get to know Jan Tratnik

European U23 champion, fan of cooking and basketball, Jan Tratnik has joined CCC Sprandi Polkowice before 2017 season. You can get to know him a little better in this feature and learn how his talent was discovered at 17 years old.

Jan Tratnik was born in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, but today he lives in small Idrija, in the western part of the country. The town surrounded by beautiful nature, has the population of just 7000 people.

26-year old rider is a man of multiple interests. One of his hobbies is cooking.

Whenever I don’t have any long trainings planned for the day, I like to spend some time in the kitchen and prepare some new dishes. I also like animals, parrots especially – Tratnik explains.

His nickname is Syuk. He got it because if his older brother, who was the first one to receive it.

When we are together I’m Syuk junior.

Tratnik took up cycling quite late, when he was 17 years old. He was discovered by one of the top Slovenian cyclists, Borut Bozic.

Borut was my neighbor and we would sometimes go for MTB rides. When he noticed that I don’t get dropped he advised me to consider cycling as something I should concentrate on. I fell in love with the sport right away and it’s my big passion until now.

Cycling won, beating few other disciplines, which Tratnik was practicing as a teenager. He played basketball for 9 years, but his future in that sport was not as bright, due to his height.

I liked to play and watch other sports – basketball, football, volleyball, rock climbing, running… I decided to go with cycling, because I felt so comfortable and free on a bike. I could spend a lot of time outside, see beautiful places. The moment I started riding, I knew that cycling should be my path.

He claimed his first victory early, as an 18-year old (2nd year as a junior), winning Italian race Coppa Montes.

When I moved to U23 category I did pretty good, which gave me got a lot of confidence. It made me believe that I can make cycling my career. I was little bit surprised with how well I did, because I was very afraid before my first U23 races.

He became the European champion when he was 22 years old, which he considers to be his biggest success so far. He is also  proud of his Slovenian championship titles in elite road race (2016) and time trial (2015). His cycling dreams include winning one of the biggest classics, such as Amstel Gold Race or Liege Bastogne Liege.

I hope that in the upcoming years I will make big progress and someday I will be in the contention and turn that dream into reality. – he says. – I like races with short, but steep climbs, which end with a sprint from a small group. If I’m in the right shape I also do well on longer climbs. Time trialing is something that I feel I’m good at as well.