Fresh off his eighth place overall at the Corsa Rosa, Soudal Quick-Step’s experienced Czech looked back on the first Grand Tour of the season.

“The Giro was a beautiful race on a personal level, thanks to the atmosphere we had in the team. It was a fantastic group – comprising both riders and staff – that supported each other. That made the three weeks of the race a truly incredible journey. That atmosphere helped me perform, and I couldn’t be happier with how things panned out.

We won four stages, we had the most combative rider of the race, and took a top 10 on the general classification – it’s without doubt one of the best Giro participations in Soudal Quick-Step’s history. Two years ago I finished sixth overall, and I am delighted I could show myself again at the same level, especially as this year the race had more time trialling kilometers than in 2022. Unlike that edition, where I gained time by going in the breakaway, now it was a different story, as I stayed with the top guys deep into the mountain stages, and this makes me happy.

The most difficult moment of these three weeks was Monte Grappa, the second ascent of this climb. The tempo was really big there, and at one point I found myself alone, behind the first group, but ahead some of the chasers. It wasn’t easy, but I kept pushing because I wanted to get to the finish line as fast as possible, it was the only thing I had in mind, knowing that from there we had only Rome left to complete the Giro.

At the opposite end, I would place the euphoria that came with each win the moment you found out in the earpiece that your teammate was successful on a certain stage. Each time I got the info from the car it was such an incredible feeling, because in those moments you love even more what you do and being part of that group. It was an amazing group of friends, of riders who got along well on and off the race every day.

I’m a bit tired now, which is normal, but at the same time happy, because the Giro is finally over. I enjoyed it, but it was very demanding. This race was a culmination of all the hard work and preparations that I put in since winter, so I’m obviously happy it all paid off. I will always remember these three weeks with the Wolfpack.”


Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images

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