Warsaw, Poland – After winning yesterday’s gruelling moutain stage of the Vuelta a España thanks to an impressive 90km solo ride, Polish veteran cyclist Rafał Majka dedicated his victory to his late father, who passed away recently.
“It’s special. Sometimes you try, and it’s not easy to go for the break. But today I tried from the start to the end, I didn’t wait for anybody today,” said Rafal Majka, who claimed his fifth stage win at a Grand Tour after breaking away from Fabio Aru with 87 kilometres to go from the finish town of El Barraco.
“I wanted to win the stage. I wanted to do it for my father, who passed away, for my two kids and also for the great team that UAE is. I’m so happy. I had a bad start of the season, and it was not easy for me and for my family.”
After a full two-hour long solo ride, the 31-year-old came home alone, pointing his arms repeatedly skywards as he celebrated his first victory in four years.
“I didn’t come to do the Vuelta General Classification, rather we have opportunities to go for breaks so I took today’s chance” said the former Tour de Pologne winner, who finished third in the Vuelta in 2015.
“I had very good legs and knew that I had to finish alone because I’m not fast on the finishes. Also I knew I had to drop Aru because I wanted to go at my own pace, rather than have to work with somebody else.”
Majka recently completed the Tour de France, where worked hard for team leader adn eventual winner Tadej Pogačar despite a bad crash late in the second week.
A strong climber, Rafał Majka rose to prominence in 2013 at the Giro d’Italia, where he finished 7th overall, and 6th the following year. His other major achievements include three mountain stage wins in the Tour de France, the King of the Mountains classification in the 2014 and 2016 edition, and two stages and the overall victory at the 2014 Tour de Pologne.
He achieved his first Grand Tour podium finish in 2015 at the Vuelta a España, after finishing third behind Fabio Aru and Joaquim Rodríguez. He won also the bronze medal for Poland in the road race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.