Former Junior and Under 23 World Champion, Matej Mohoric has decided to leave Cannondale-Garmin after his second pro season and join Italian outfit Lampre-Merida on a two-year contract. Just 21-years-old, the Slovenian remains one of the most promising young riders of the peloton, and although he didn’t manage to add a win to his name since joining the World Tour ranks, the general consensus is that a breakthrough result will come very soon.
During his tenure with the US-based team, Mohoric has had his ups and downs: he raced the Ardennes Classics, but later in the season experienced a nagging elbow injury, before making his debut in the Vuelta a España, his first Grand Tour. Unfortunately, Matej’s adventure came to a sudden end, as he had to abandon during the first week, when he fell ill. On the bright side, his season didn’t stop there, as he came back for one final event in the argyle kit, the Japan Cup, where he showed some promising signs, by finishing sixth at the end of a hard race.
Next season could turn out to be an important one for the Lampre-Merida cyclist, who will continue to build on what he achieved so far in order to fulfill the expectations he has set up for himself when turning pro. Tough he is adamant that his future lies primarily in the tough one-day races, the talented Slovenian is ready to tackle also a couple of short stage races as he feels that these could help him improve and score a big coup at some point.
Regardless of what will happen, Matej Mohoric will take it one step at a time and not rush into things, knowing that patience will eventually pay dividends. Of these and many more, you can read in the following interview, which he gave to Cafe Roubaix in November.
– Matej, looking back on your season, how was it?
I think 2015 was a good year for me. I didn’t get any great results yet, but I am definitely one step closer to becoming a good cyclist. I gained a lot of experience and became physically stronger. I improved a lot, and my body weight has gone a little bit down with absolutely no loss of power. Also, now I cope better with the distance of the races and I can train more intense and for longer periods.
– How did you find this year compared to your first in the World Tour?
I have found my second season to be much easier, especially from a physical point of view. My body has adapted well to the demands of pro racing. I also believe that the experience one gets from the races he has already done in the past helps as well. Overall, I am satisfied with 2015.
– Was there something you didn’t like or which you felt doesn’t go as you expected?
To be honest, I expected for things to go worse. I thought it was going to be more like my first year in the pro ranks. However, I didn’t like that I got sick in the Vuelta a España and had to pull out the following day. Actually, that was my most disappointing moment of the year. At the other end, the Österreich Rundfahrt was the highlight of the season for me. I liked it a lot: it’s really beautiful, close to home and with a lot of climbs.
– Why did you leave Cannondale-Garmin and why did you pick Lampre-Merida?
I had a great time in the Cannondale-Garmin team. It is a great squad, with many nice people, but the time has come for me to change teams. I like some things about Lampre-Merida more. The two teams are different, but it is impossible to say which is better.
– Was it important for you to be back in an European team, and especially an Italian one?
Logistically, it doesn’t make any difference. After all, I have never been overseas in 2015 with the US team, whereas in 2014 I have spent three months in the States and two months in Australia, all these while being part of an Italian team. It does make a bit of difference in the mentality though. I did fit in well in both teams, so I don’t think cultural differences are a problem for me.
– Did you talk to the management of your new team?
Yes, I did. They expect me to do my best and perform well in the races I’ll go to. I have my personal goals that are more related to small things in training, not so much to the results I score in the races. I will deal with the results once I will be fit enough to really be there in a race’s finale.
– Are there any particular races you’d like to do in 2016?
I like Liège–Bastogne–Liège. I would also like to try Strade Bianche and do a Grand Tour again, finishing it this time. Last season showed me that tough one-day races are best suited to my characteristics, but I think I could do well also in short stage races.