Rafal Majka: “It's a fantastic feeling being able to compete with the best climbers”
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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Rafal Majka: “It's a fantastic feeling being able to compete with the best climbers”

by Ben Atkins at 1:57 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
23-year-old Pole climbs into the Maglia Bianca on Altopiano del Montasio

Rafal MajkaRafal Majka (Saxo-Tinkoff) climbed into the Giro d’Italia’s Maglia Bianca, as the best young rider in the race, on today’s tough stage to Altopiano del Montasio as he was able to stay with the biggest names in the race on the steep final climb. The 23-year-old Polish rider, appearing in his first ever Giro, was one of the first to attack the group of overall contenders as gradients reached 20% in the closing kilometres of the stage, and finished in sixth position alongside Maglia Rosa Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).

”I've been feeling strong through the race so far with the exception of the day before the rest day where I was suffering from headaches,” said Majka afterwards. “It's a fantastic feeling being able to compete with the best climbers in the world in this demanding terrain and I have a feeling that my condition is still improving.”

Along with taking the white jersey, Majka has moved up to tenth overall, and is on course for his best-ever finish in a Grand Tour.

“But it's hard to predict how the body reacts in the days to come,” he warned. “It's a long and very tough race and I'm gonna take one stage at a time.”

Majka’s Saxo-Tinkoff team is clearly pleased with its young rider, but is still careful not to put too much pressure on his young shoulders.

"Rafal did such a great stage where he got a firm grip on the biggest favourites in the race and even had the energy to launch an attack,’ said directeur sportif Dan Frost. “When he sees that they wouldn't let him go, he stopped and sensibly he fell to the back of the group.

“Now, we have to see what tomorrow's stage will offer and it's probably gonna be another tough mountain stage with an uphill finish,” Frost added. “I hope he can maintain his position from now on but we have to remember that he is a very young rider and the race is still long and hard but we are very happy with what we have seen today.”

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