Majka forgets unlucky Tour, makes big 2018 plans

Rafal Majka is aiming for a top-five finish at the Tour de France — and no more bad luck.

SAN JUAN, Argentina (VN) — Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) will take the same season as the one that he had in 2017, just without the bad luck.

The 28-year-old will lead team Bora-Hansgrohe in the Tour de France this summer. The Pole kicked off the 2018 season Sunday in the Vuelta a San Juan in Argentina.

“Let’s just forget about the bad luck,” he told VeloNews with a laugh.

“The big thing in 2018 is just to modify my training a bit, and we try to have good luck this year. This is maybe the best for me, to only have good luck after that hopefully everything will be well.”

Majka crashed and abandoned the Tour with many others after the stage to Chambéry, stage 9. Geraint Thomas (Sky), Robert Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo), and Richie Porte (BMC Racing) quit too.

Majka — already a three-time stage winner and twice king of the mountains — fell due to his own error. His chance of finally racing high into the Tour’s classification vanished too, on hold until 2018.

“Luck?” said sports director Enrico Poitschke. “The Tour crash was not a mistake, only bad luck.

“We don’t need good luck in 2018, just only need to avoid bad luck for Rafal. If he has the same condition this season, we can have great results.”

Majka had hoped to take advantage of his chance especially since Bora-Hansgrohe lost its other star Peter Sagan due to a disqualification early in the Tour. After crashing out, he refocused on the Vuelta a España. He won the Pandera stage, but he still felt sore from the Tour.

Fortunately for Majka and Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe came back stronger for him in 2018. This winter, it signed Daniel Oss to back Sagan in the classics and drive the two stars through the early, hectic Tour stages. It also welcomed Peter Kennaugh and Davide Formolo as mountain helpers.

Majka adjusted his green and black kit moments before starting the second Vuelta a San Juan stage in Argentina.

“I’m still far away from my big goals in the Tour and Vuelta, I need to see my condition after I come out of this race in Argentina,” Majka added.

“We also have Peter. The team is around Peter for sure also, he wants to win another green jersey, and the team will help me to be top-five in the Tour.

“It’s better, we see how many riders we have: Daniel Oss can help, Formolo. … I want to try to be top-five in the Tour this year, I want to fight for that.”