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"There will be ups and downs, but if you have a group of guys that get along really well and work together as a team, and are a family, it's so much easier to get through the bad times."

Photo: Sirotti




16.12.2014 @ 18:04 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Since taking a thrilling GC win in the 2010 Criterium du Dauphine, Janez Brajkovic has faced four seasons marred by bad luck. In 2015, he embarks on a new adventure with UnitedHealthcare, where he will look make up for his bad luck by taking a string of results in the US.


"I've had three tough years," Brajkovic told Cyclingnews at his first camp with UnitedHealthcare, contrasting the new team against his soon-to-be former Astana squad.


"Here it's totally different [from Astana]. You can talk to everyone. We all speak English. It's so much easier. There, you had Kazakh group, Italian group, and then all the rest. It was very difficult to communicate with those guys. Especially Kazakh group. It was a closed group. They talked their own language. You could not interact because you don't understand. We were teammates but we weren't best buddies.”


"So far I've really liked it. It's a very good sign - I'm happy again, that's the most important thing."


Aside from his time at Astana, Brajkovic has spent the rest of his career on American teams, meaning he is no stranger to the way they race in the States, on large highways and steep climbs at altitude. He even went as far as saying he missed the racing in the USA.


"I've been missing it a lot. I tried to get Astana to do Tour of California, USA Pro Challenge or Utah, but that never happened. We did it in 2012, but yeah. With a Kazakh team, they have no interest in racing here. It was really hard. But - I'm on an American team now, so I'll be doing all those races. I'm very excited and happy.”


"American culture is much closer to me than European or even Eastern European. People are a lot more open, warmer. You can talk to stranger, no problem. In Europe, people are more - I wouldn't say unfriendly - but they're not so nice. I like it here more."


Despite the fact he is no longer racing at the sport’s highest level, the Slovenian is confident he has not made a step backwards and his move can help reinvigorate his career.


"With a ProTour team (sic), it's hard. Once you start racing, there's not a lot of time to recover. When you get sick, you just go down. You don't get better. You go from bad to worse to overtrained to sick, then you have to take a month of rest, and often that's not possible in these big teams."


"I think once you have a little bad luck, and you're not feeling well on a team, or in the group, in the back of your mind you're very pessimistic about everything. I think it comes and haunts you. You think 'I'll crash, maybe I'll crash', then you crash. You sort of look for it. I think this is over now. We'll have a good 2015."


He is thoroughly looking forward to having the chance to once again show the world that he has the ability and the work ethic to once again win great races, like he did in the 2010 dauphine, when he bested Alberto Contador.


"I'm sure we'll have problems, and not everything will go as planned. There will be ups and downs, and crashes and injuries, and bad weather, but if you have a group of guys that get along really well and work together as a team, and are a family, it's so much easier to get through the bad times. So much easier."




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