He probably seems to be a serious man, but Vojtěch Řepa (Velká Bíteš, 2000) is in fact a friendly and kind guy. That’s why he has fitted so well with his teammates of Equipo Kern Pharma. When it comes to his performances, this 2022 has brought many different things for him: some key moments in his career and great results that remark his huge potential but, as well, many learnings that are leading him to improve and become a better rider.
From 1 to 10, how high would you grade your 2022 season?
I would give it an 8. I feel I had a consistent season, with some moments of good condition and remarkable performances. And I would definitely say this year has been far different from 2021, when I suffered lots of health issues. I have been able to forget those problems and get stability along the season. Ayway, I’m aware I made mistakes in some races and that is something I would like to improve.
What aspects would you like to improve?
My goal is to become a better rider when it comes to concentration during the races or tactical skills. In some important moments of the season, for example, during the Presidential Tour of Turkey, I failed in those two areas and this is something I must change.
Why are you so critical with your performance on Turkey, when it was one of your brightest moments of the year?
My final result, almost achieving the top15, and our victory in the team classification were only the tip of the iceberg. I had incredible legs and I could ride face to face with the best guys of the race, but, on the other hand, sometimes I made unnecessary efforts due to my lack of attention.
Your next great highlight came in the Tour of Slovenia, where you finished fifth overall and you were crowned as the best young rider. How do you remember those days?
That achievement gave me a lot of satisfaction. Everything was almost perfect. I was really focused, thinking of the forthcoming National Championships, I studied every stage profile, I was excited about how well the race fitted with my skills and my condition was great. Moreover, the team did an incredible job. My result wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates and Pablo Urtasun’s direction.
What did you feel riding so close to greatest riders like Tadej Pogačar o Rafal Majka?
That was something special, of course. Not only beacuse of those two riders, but also others like Domen Novak o Matej Mohorič, both national idols like Pogačar. The Slovenians are fully motivated in that race and we also enjoyed riding in some crowded roads by the fans, which was a positive surprise for us. Those were beautiful days.
After the summer training camp in Andorra, you managed to be amongst the eight chosen riders for La Vuelta, your first Grand Tour. Were those previous days special as well?
Yes, indeed, for me those were intense weeks because I had to make some difficult decisions. I had the chance to ride important races like the European Championships or the Tour de l’Avenir with the Czech Republic National Team, but I told Juanjo Oroz I wanted to do everything I could to be in La Vuelta. I was joyful when I knew my name was on the final list to start the race in The Netherlands. That was a big goal for me, I made my bet and I got it.
In the Spanish race, you lived many different things. You had a bad crash in the first week, you could be in the breakaway in one stage and you finally managed to get to Madrid. How would you describe that experience?
I’ll never forget those three weeks of racing. It was a mix of emotions, with positive but also difficult moments to face. It was, as well, a true challenge from the physical point of view. I could gain a lot of day to day learnings and I realized how hard we must work to ride at the top cycling level.
So, you are hungry to improve even more. What are your goals for 2023?
My first year with the team was irregular and this 2022 has been more consistent. My goal for 2023 is getting that stability in my results and performances. I’d like to go a step further in the races I already know. Next year is going to be exciting, not only for me but also for Equipo Kern Pharma. We will have some new teammates on board and we will maintain our aim to continue growing as cyclists.