Slovenian cyclist Jan Tratnik won the 16th stage of the Giro d’Italia between Udine and San Daniele del Friuli to become only the fifth Slovenian ever to win a stage at the prestigious road race around Italy.
The 30-year-old from Idrija, a member of Team Bahrain McLaren, won the 229-kilometre stage after a fierce battle in the last kilometre with Ben O’Connor of Australia.
Tratnik is the fifth Slovenian with a stage win at the Giro d’Italia after Primož Roglič (three wins), Jan Polanc (2), Luka Mezgec and Matej Mohorič (one each).
Commenting on what was only the 16th win for Slovenian riders at three-week Grand Tour races, he said he was happy as “these days here are special, because we are close to Slovenia,” adding that “I wanted to take something from here as demanding stages are ahead of us.
“In the last three kilometres I was very close to breaking down. But when I saw my girlfriend 500 metres before the finish, I got a boost of extra energy and I was virtually flying towards the line,” Tratnik added.
This is actually only a third career win for the Slovenian in non-time trial races, while he has five wins in time trial stages overall. He was the national champion in road race in 2016 and in time trial in 2015 and 2018.
Internationally, his career highlights include the 1st overall place in the Okolo Slovenska race in Slovakia and 1st places in the East Bohemia Tour in 2015 and 2016.
Tratnik also participated in the Giro d’Italia in 2017, finishing 106th overall.