Matej Mohorič has played down his own descending skills and says that others in the pro peloton are better than him at going downhill.
The Slovenian two-time Tour de France stage winner took the honours at Milan-San Remo in the spring with a daredevil descent of the Poggio, famously using a dropper seat post more commonly found on a mountain bike.
When speaking to Cycling Weekly, Mohorič played down his own brilliance and insisted that other riders were far superior to him when it comes to descending.
“No, I’m definitely not the best. I think I’m pretty good, but no, I’m not the best,” he said, “there are others who are better and faster than me.”
Attacking on the descent of the famous Poggio climb took his rivals at Milan-San Remo completely unawares, but after Tom Pidcock’s exploits at the Tour de France in July, the Slovenian flagged the British rider as being up there as the best descender in the peloton.
“Julian Alaphilippe is pretty good, some sprinters are pretty special, then Tom Pidcock of course, he’s pretty fast,” Mohorič added.
When asked what attributes add up to a great descender, the Bahrain Victorious rider explained that the required skills are psychological as much as they are physical.
“I think you’re born with it or you’re not, you either have it or you don’t, that’s the lack of fear I guess,” he said. “Then it’s just the practice that makes the difference, especially from a young age and learning from your mistakes."
Mohorič's use of a dropper seatpost to lower his centre of gravity and aid his escape down the Poggio was hailed as a work of genius, but the Slovenian revealed to Cycling Weekly that it wasn't his idea.
He said it took some convincing by a Bahrain Victorious mechanic, Filip Tišma, to use the seatpost.
“He [Tišma] is in charge of research and is a committed mountain biker himself, and knows that the dropper post has an advantage in mountain biking," Mohorič recalled. "He was wondering about the advantages on the road and came to me and asked me about the idea.
“I didn’t know if it would work or not, but I was happy to test it over the winter.”
A MONUMENT WIN IS THE HARDEST
After giving his newly equipped bike plenty of testing over the winter months, Mohorič explained to Cycling Weekly that the advantages soon became clear to him.
With that considered, Milan-San Remo seemed like an obvious choice to give his new weapon its first outing on the road.
“Already the first time I used it, I saw a big opportunity. I thought it could make quite a significant difference and be an advantage but wasn’t sure exactly how much,” he said. “Milan-San Remo seemed like the perfect place to use that advantage because the race can be decided on that final descent.”
“We had thought about using it before, but then we decided to save it for the big one. I love that race and had dreamt of winning it one day, even without a dropper seatpost, so that was just something that could help me,” he added.
“We thought that we would be the only ones using it on that day and it worked.”
Once he finished the descent from the Poggio and was bursting into San Remo, disaster nearly struck when Mohorič temporarily dropped his chain.
At that point TotalEnergies rider Anthony Turgis was rapidly bearing down on him but the Slovenian still managed to get the job done.
“To have a plan come together like this is probably a once in a lifetime experience. I was just amazed, proud and happy for the whole team and everyone around me,” he said.
“More people know you for winning stages at the Tour de France. Although from an athlete's perspective, it’s probably easier to win two stages at the Tour than to win a monument, especially in that way.”
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