For the second consecutive time Jan Tratnik finished with the fastest on the stage of Volta ao Alentejo, taking 4th place.
Info: February 23rd, stage 2, Monforte – Portel, 171,3km
It was lively 70km of racing in the beginning of the stage. One breakaway attempt was followed by another, but nobody was able to go clear. The initial phase was not only filled with attacks, but also crashes. Michal Schlegel was a victim of one of them and had to be taken to the hospital, with a suspected broken collarbone. Jan Tratnik, who turned 27 on the day of the stage, was also involved in the crash, but didn’t suffer serious injuries.
Finally after almost 2 hours of fast racing an escape was formed. Edward Dunbar (Axeon Hagens Berman), Hakon Trondsen (Team Sparebanken Sor), Krister Hagen (Team Coop) and Anton Vorobyev (Gazprom-Rusvelo) were part of this move and they stretched out their lead to 3:30.
The advantage was being systematically reduced, while Hagen got dropped. The leading trio got caught with 5km to go and it was all decided in a bunch sprint. For the second consecutive time Jan Tratnik showed some sprinting skills, taking 4th place. Johim Ariesen (Metec – TKH Continental Cyclingteam p/b Mantel), who has proved his name in some Polish races, sprinted to victory, beating Carlos Barbero (Movistar) and Colin Joyce (Rally Cycling).
After two stages Barbero is leading GC and Tratnik sits in 8th (13 seconds back).
It was very hard stage mentally. First 90km of racing were super fast and nervous. There were lots of crashes and attacks, but thanks to my teammates I was able to get to the sprint safely. In the end I did everything exactly the way I had wanted, which resulted in 4th place. I’m happy with how the race unfolds and we hope that we will be able to improve today’s result in the last 3 stages – Jan Tratnik said afterwards.