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“All those people who I believed were my friends are now not replying to my messages. It is pretty sad, but life goes on. I am not ready to give up, so I will keep digging,” Brajkovic said.

Photo: Sirotti

JANEZ BRAJKOVIC

RIDER PROFILE
|
NEWS
27.10.2014 @ 09:55 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

With several outfits having been recently folded and no signs that promises of Fernando Alonso will ever turn into reality, it has become increasingly difficult for riders to find a new team to continue their professional career with. Astana’s Janez Brajkovic might be another casualty of a highly unfavourable situation on a transfer market as the former Tour de France top ten finisher admitted that he is still in search for a new squad and desperate enough to accept any reasonable offer.

 

“I am still looking,” a frustrated Brajkovic told CyclingTips Friday, speaking by telephone from Slovenia prior to travelling to his winter base in Dubai. “Ideally I would like to sign for a US team but right now, as far as I can see, I don’t have any options. I am looking for a team just to have something. I am not in a position to choose.”

 

His past two seasons with Astana were hampered by crashes at the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia respectively so the 30-year old Slovenian couldn’t improve on his promising results from 2012. He insists, however, that the Kazakh squad acted properly while refusing him a contract extension.

 

“I don’t feel bad about Astana,” he makes clear. “Sure, it would be nice to stay on the team, but they had a different plan. They were very correct, so I am not mad at them.

 

Brajkovic hadn’t been equally pleased with a work of his former agent, apparently unprepared to take an action, so he made a quick decision to hire Baden Cooke. The former Australian professional managed to save Christopher Horner’s career last season, but so far wasn’t equally lucky with the Slovenian.

 

“The problem was I don’t think my [former] agent was really prepared for that. I would say he started looking for teams in late September; in September pretty much everything is full. So there were not many options, if any.”

 

“Right now I would say the only positive thing I see in this situation is that I now know who my real friends are,” he said. “All those people who I believed were my friends are now not replying to my messages. It is pretty sad, but life goes on. I am not ready to give up, so I will keep digging.”

 

Reflecting on his unfortunate past two seasons, Brajkovic obviously pointed out to crashes he suffered at the 2013 Tour de France and this year’s Giro d’Italia.

 

“I went into last year’s Tour believing I had better condition than I did in 2012,” he explains, “but things didn’t go well. I crashed out of the race. This year I was again really good at the Giro, but I was unfortunately unable to show it. I fell and suffered a broken elbow.

 

“It took me quite a long time to get over that, actually. I don’t think many people realized how bad the injury was. My first race back was the Tour of Austria [where he was 13th overall]. I was still in a lot of pain there. I didn’t say that to anyone, though, as I wouldn’t be allowed to race. It would have been even worse.”

 

“In the end, only the results count. It is a very cruel world. You have a bad season and you go from the top to the bottom,” he said. “It is a very sad situation for me right now, but I am sure I will be back. If I find a team, I will show very soon what I am capable of.”

 

No matter how difficult his situation currently is, the 30-year old Astana rider refuses to give up and hopes to find any team to continue his professional career with. He is convinced that he will bounce back in 2015 and prove his worth as general classification contender again.

 

“I know I have had a hard year. I am really confident that next year will be a good one for me, though. I will show what I can do. I know I have to go through that year to continue in the sport, and am prepared for that.”

 

“Now that I am in this situation, I have been sending some emails to my ‘friends’ and other team managers,” he said. “The most frustrating thing is what happens. I am okay with an answer, even if they say no, we are not interested, or we don’t have a place. But the most frustrating thing is you don’t even get an answer, they don’t reply. It is really tough.”

 

He knows that he has more to give. “In 2012 I was ninth in the Tour,” he points out. “With a little bit of luck I could have been sixth. Realistically I think I can do top ten in the Grand Tours or aim for one week races.

 

“I still think I can improve, but unfortunately I couldn’t show that in the past years with Astana. Yet I am pretty sure I am capable of much more than I have shown so far.”

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