Janez Brajkovič (born 18 December 1983) is a racing cyclist from Metlika, Slovenia. He was the world under-23 Time Trial champion in Verona and rides for UCI World Tour team Bahrain–Merida.
Before he turned professional, Brajkovic won the World U-23 TT by beating pre-race favourite Thomas Dekker (formerly of Silence-Lotto) by 18 seconds, with a time of 46:56.39 with an average speed of 46.975 km/h.
Team Discovery (2005–2007)
Brajkovič joined Discovery Channel midway through the 2005 season. Brajkovič was signed up as a first year professional but missed the first half of the 2005 season due to contractual obligations (he was with KRKA – Adria Mobil). In July he turned professional and his debut race in the Eneco Tour and had a brilliant debut start. He finished 7th in the time trial, helped sprinter Max van Heeswijk win two stages, and finished in the top 20 in the General Classification won by Bobby Julich of Team CSC. But to prove it was no fluke he finished 14th in the time trial in the Deutschland Tour, and in the top 20 in the 2005 UCI World Road Race Championships in Madrid.
Brajkovič started 2006 impressively as well, finished 4th in the final time trial of Tour de Suisse 5th overall in the General Classification, and at 22 turned out to be Discovery's strongest rider in the race. Before that, in the Volta a Catalunya (Tour of Catalunya), he took 3rd in the stage 1 TT, 7th in stage 4 2:37 behind stage winner Carlos Castano (Kaiku), and 5th overall just 48 seconds down on over GC winner David Cañada (Saunier Duval-Prodir). He did not get to ride the Tour de France, but raced the Vuelta a España where he finished second on the first mountain stage, after getting beaten by Danilo Di Luca in the sprint at the summit. After finishing fourth in the second mountain stage to the Alto de El Morredero, he took the lead in the general classification, giving him the leader's jersey in a major tour for the first time in his young career.
On 22 April 2007 Brajkovič won the Tour de Georgia for his first win as a professional. He then endured a dryer spell where he further acclimatised to regular top level competition before finishing an impressive second to Damiano Cunego at the end of season classic Giro di Lombardia.
Team Astana (2008–2009)
In 2008 Brajkovič raced in the Tour of California, Vuelta Ciclista a Murcia, Settimana Ciclistica, Volta a Catalunya, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré, National Road Championship Slovenia, Tour of Austria, Deutschland Tour, World Championships, Military World Championship, Coppa Sabatini, Giro dell'Emilia, G.P. Beghelli and the Tour of Lombardy.
in 2009, Brajkovič took the Leader Jersey in Stage 2 of the Giro del Trentino and held it until Ivan Basso took it on the final climb in Stage 4. Showing strong form, he rode in support of Levi Leipheimer in the Giro d'Italia.
Team Radioshack (2010–2011)
Following the 2009 season, Brajkovič left Astana for Team RadioShack, joining many of his former Astana teammates and manager Johan Bruyneel. During the 2010 season, he won the Critérium du Dauphiné after being able to follow Tour de France champion Alberto Contador in the mountains and besting him in the longer time trial of the race. Following this victory, he was selected by the team to ride in his first Tour de France, mainly to support Lance Armstrong. His 2011 Tour de France with Team Radioshack ended early on stage 5 after a crash prevented him from finishing.
Team Astana (2012–2014)
On 30 September 2011, it was announced that Brajkovič would be returning to Astana for the 2012 season. He won the Tour of Slovenia in 2012. Brajkovic later rode the 2012 Tour de France where he ended up finishing 9th overall. After having a relatively quiet 2013 season, Brajkovic wore the Maillot Rojo after his team won the stage 1 team time trial in the Vuelta A Espana. He wore it for 1 day and then lost it to teammate Vincenzo Nibali. The 2014 season was statistically the worst year of Brajkovic's career. He failed to record a stage win for the first time in his career, which was attributed to many injuries and illnesses.
Team UnitedHealthcare (2015–)
On 29 October 2014, it was announced that Brajkovič would be joining professional continental team UnitedHealthcare after 3 seasons at Astana. Brajkovic expressed interest in wanting to return and ride in the United States. This will be Brajkovic's third different American team in his career.
Grand Tour general classification results timeline
|Tour de France||—||—||—||—||43||DNF||9||DNF||—|
|Vuelta a España||30||DNF||—||—||—||22||—||26||—|
|—||Did not compete|
|DNF||Did not finish|