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A chat with Matej Mohoric, the U23 world champion

Last September, after a memorable descent, Matej Mohoric won the U23 world title, one year after he won the rainbow jersey in the Junior race. One of the most gifted young riders out there, the 19 year old Slovenian signed with Cannondale for the next seasons and will make his World Tour debut in a couple of days, at the Tour Down Under. After going to Oz, he will race in Europe, where he will get for the first time in his career the taste of the Ardennes Classics that suit him so well. This week, before traveling to Australia, I caught up with Matej and he talked about the first months with Cannondale and his plans for this season.

– Matej, in September you won the U23 World Championships. How was that win?

It was really amazing that I managed to repeat the success from Valkenburg in Firenze. The emotions when I realized I collected another title were awesome, sensational, more or less the same as last year. It is a wave of adrenalin that goes through your body when you cross the finish line. I am grateful to my teammates and everyone else who stands behind those results.

– How are things going before your debut at the Tour Down Under?

I’m enjoying every single moment of living as a pro now. I have my eyes and ears open. I try to learn as much as I can, I accept every single advice. I know I’m a very unexperienced rider and that I have a lot to learn. 

– On what did you work during the training camp with Cannondale?

We worked a lot on my time trial and we improved my position on the new bicycle. I am also doing more work in the gym than I did in the past season. 

– Did you get to talk to the team about your schedule for 2014?

I will start my season in Australia with Down Under and Herald Sun Tour. I’ll continue in Italy and Swiss with Trofeo Laiguelia and Gran Premio di Lugano. Than I’ll do Paris-Nice and after that the Ardennes Classics: Amstel Gold Race, Flèche Wallonne and Liège–Bastogne–Liège. That is the plan, but we might change it if necessary.

– Are there any particular races you would like to ride?

No, I don’t have special wishes for the next season. I want to do one of the Grand Tours in the next seasons. Maybe the Tour de Slovenia as a pro. And the World Championships, of course. Maybe also the Olympics. For 2014, my objectives are mostly to gain experience. I will try to learn as much as possible and get to know the world of professional cycling. 

– In our previous interview, you’ve told me your dream is winning the Giro, but you also showed some impressive qualities in one-day races. Will you also focus on these?

For now I will focus on improving and preparing myself for the new level of training and racing. I have few years to develop myself and than we will see what comes, what type of rider I become.

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