Matej Mohoric: “I want to do a Grand Tour in 2015”
At just 19, Matej Mohoric was the youngest rider to race in the World Tour this season. The talented Slovenian was a member of the Cannondale Team, where he ended up after winning the Junior and U23 World Title in the previous two seasons. The beginning of 2014 found him at the start of the Tour Down Under, which was followed, a couple months later, by the Ardennes Classics that Matej loves so much and where he has the potential to shine in the future.
After racing mainly in North America in the summer and concluding his season in Italy, Matej Mohoric returned to Slovenia for a well-deserved holiday. There he was when I talked to him last week, in order to find out his thoughts on his first World Tour season and his expectations ahead of next year, when he’ll race for a US team, Garmin-Sharp, which will be sponsored by Cannondale.
– Matej, 2014 was your first season in the World Tour. How was it?
It was a great experience. I did not achieve many notable results, but I am still very satisfied with my neo-pro year. I learned lots of new things and hopefully I will be able to use this knowledge in the next years. It was a huge change compared to my previous years. You can really see it is a top level competition here, the difference in the quality is enormous.
– What were the hardest things to cope with?
In my opinion the difference between World Tour races and less quality races lies mostly in the speed and distance of the races. World Tour goes much faster and much longer than anything I have experienced before. It is somehow logical, since there are the best guys from every generation out there.
– You didn’t race much at World Tour level (ed. 13 days). Why was that?
In my opinion I raced quite a lot at World Tour level considering the fact that it was my neo pro year. I was by far the youngest out there, so it was good that I did not race too much in the best races. I did enjoy the presence at the Ardennes Classics, which will be quite important for me in the future. I did the Tour Down Under, which was my first time ever at the top level. At the end of the season I also raced in Canada. I think it was more than enough for a 19-year-old rider.
– What do you feel you’ve improved during this year?
Probably every aspect of bike racing, except climbing. I was not faster up the hill this year. Still I was a lot better in everything else when compared to previous years. I have many great memories. My best day on the bike this season was probably the third stage of the Tour of Austria, when I was in the breakaway. I felt really good.
– Next year you’ll be changing teams. How do you see this move?
I am excited to start a new year, a new experience. I am sure it will be another great year. They gave me a positive first impression already and I believe it is not wrong at all.
– What plans do you have for 2015? In what races would you like to go?
I do not yet know my race program, but I wish to try with a Grand Tour appearance for the first time in my career, probably Vuelta is the most realistic option. I would like to focus on shorter stage races. For sure I will be competing even more at World Tour level.
– And what goals will you have?
I do not want to set result goals yet. I will only be 20-years-old and I know that my body still needs some time to fully develop. But we will see, I have my expectations that are better to keep for myself, but for sure everything is possible.