Žakelj eyes rainbow jersey at UCI MTB champs

2013-08-03 00:00

CURRENT women’s cross-country world No. 1 Tanja Žakelj has her eyes firmly set on claiming a maiden rainbow striped jersey at the UCI MTB and Trials World Championships at the Cascades MTB Park starting on August 26 in Pietermaritzburg.

The Unior Tools Team rider has had a stellar season with two wins from the four UCI MTB World Cup events that have been staged so far in the season, with a still solid fifth position in the last leg in Andorra being her worst result of the year thus far.

“So far my season has gone amazingly well,” the 24-year-old said. “In the first World Cup in Albstadt I managed to finish fourth — that was my first podium in the World Cup.

“Then the event at Nové Mesto was even better because I won my first World Cup and in Val di Sole I managed to defend the World Cup leader’s jersey with another win so I’ve been very happy so far.”

To add to her two World Cup wins, the Slovenian went one better by grabbing the continental title in Switzerland.

Being world champion is not a foreign concept to the Slovenian; she has a couple of age group world championship crowns, but is still in hot pursuit of that special elite crown.

“I have won the world championship twice — once as a junior in 2006 and then in the U23 category in 2008. My biggest wish is to win the rainbow jersey in the elite cross country category, though, and I’ll have the opportunity to try do that in Pietermaritzburg, so I’m very excited,” mentioned Žakelj.

The World Championships will be the pinnacle of the calendar for the year and being at the top of her game will be imperative for Žakelj with a number of equally inspired girls coming to Pietermaritzburg with the same goal.

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