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With a powerful attack 4km from the top of the final climb, Roglic distanced the pre-race favourites and held off Nieve and Rogina to win the Tour de Slovenie queen stage; the Adria Mobil rider took the overall lead

Photo: Stiehl Photography










20.06.2015 @ 19:14 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Former ski jumper Primoz Roglic (Adria Mobil) confirmed that he is one of the biggest climbing talents in the world when he won the queen stage in his home race, the Tour de Slovenie. The local hero attacked 4km from the summit of the final climb and managed to hold off Mikel Nieve (Sky) and Radoslav Rogina (Adria Mobil) to take both the stage win and the overall lead.


25-year-old Primoz Roglic is a former ski jumper and only got introduced into cycling a few years ago. However, he has quickly proved his big potential as a good climber riding for the small Adria Mobil team.


Last year he took a big win in a stage of the Tour d’Azerbaijan, finished third overall in the Sibiu Cycling Tour and won the Croatia-Slovenia one-day race. He also showed his potential in his home race Tour de Slovenie where he rode very aggressively.


This year he has been unstoppable and has clearly upped his level significantly. He was second overall in the Tour of Croatia and won both a stage and the overall at the Tour d’Azerbaijan.


That made him one to watch as he returned to the Tour de Slovenie as one of the local heroes and today he confirmed his huge potential when he beat the stars in the queen stage. Despite being up against riders like Mikel Nieve and Giro d’Italia stage winners Diego Ulissi and Jan Polanc, he was in a class of his own in the big mountaintop finish.


Roglic rode strongly in the main group while Polanc worked hard for Ulissi on the final climb and he responded when Matija Kvasina (Felbermayr) launched the first attack. He stayed calm for a little while before he made his move with 4km to go.


Unfazed by the high level of his rivals, Roglic made a big acceleration and quickly built an advantage of 12 seconds as he entered the final 3km. Despite Nieve taking off in pursuit – the Basque trying to  earn himself a spot on the Sky roster for the Tour de France – no one managed to catch the strong Slovenian who won the stage ahead of the Sky captain and his own teammate and former winner Radoslav Rogina.


Having limited his losses with a 16th place in the opening time trial, the win was enough for Roglic to take the overall lead. Hence, he will wear the yellow jersey in tomorrow’s final stage which only has a two category 3 climbs at the midpoint. As it ends with a few laps of a flat finishing circuit in Nove Mesto, a bunch sprint is expected to bring the Slovenian race to a close.


 The queen stage

After yesterday’s warm-up, it was time for the queen stage which brought the riders over 178.5km from Dobrovnik to a mountaintop finished on Trije Kraiji. The first half was completely flat but the second half was very difficult. First the rides tackled two category 2 climbs and one category 3 ascent before they went up the final 17km category 1 mountain which had an average gradient of 5.6%.


A opposed to yesterday’s rainy conditions, the peloton had great weather when they gathered for the start and all riders who reached the finish yesterday were present. They got the stage off to a fast beginning with lots of attacks and it was Klemen Stimulak (Adria Mobil), Silvio Giorni (d’Amico) and Luca Wackermann (Southeast) who escaped just before the first intermediate sprint where they crossed the line in that order.


The break takes off

Another three riders joined that move but they were quickly brought back. However, Stimulak was relentless and so he tried again. This time he was joined by Otto Vergaerde (Topsport), Maxim Belkov (Katusha), Marco Canola (Unitedhealthcare) and Brayan Ramirez Chacon (Colombia) and they had a 25-second advantage when Belkov beat Stimulak and Canola in the second intermediate sprint.


A few riders tried to bridge the gap but they failed to make the junction. Instead, the peloton slowed down and at the 25km mark, the gap had gone out to 1.30.


Rusvelo in control

Belkov beat Stimulak and Vergaerde in the third intermediate sprint while the gap grew to 4.20. Now Rusvelo and Bardiani hit the front and they kept the gap stable at around 4 minutes for a while.


The Italian team quickly left it to the Russians to ride on the front and they had brought the gap down to 3.45 at the 70km mark. However, they were not chasing yet and so the gap went back up to 4.20 as it started to rain.


The peloton splits

As they approached the feed zone, Rusvelo accelerated and as they refueled, the gap was only 3.08. As they continued to ride fast on the narrow, wet roads, the group split into several groups and as they hit the first climb, it was an 80-rider group that chased 2 minutes behind the front quintet.


Stimulak led Vergaerde and Belkov over the top of the first climb but the front group was now losing ground quickly. They were brought back on the technical descent and it was a compact group that went up the second climb, with race leader Ovechkin still there.


Gavazzi attacks

Mauro Finetto (Southeast) won the KOM sprint at the top as the rain had now stopped. The climbing whittled the group down to 40 riders before Francesco Gavazzi (Southeast) took off, quickly getting an advantage of 20 seconds.


With 33km to go, Gavazzi has extended his gap to 40 seconds and he had 50 seconds in hand when he started the third climb. He was first at the top but was caught by Kristijan Fajt (Adria Mobil) on the descent.


Fajt led Gavazzi across the line in the final intermediate sprint at the bottom of the final climb while Manuele Mori (Lampre-Merida) was first from the peloton. As soon as they started to climb, Gavazzi attacked and he quickly distanced his companion.


Roglic makes his move

Gavazzi was brought back with 13km to go when 25 riders were still left in the main group. Jan Polan set the pace for Lampre-Merida but was not riding full gas as 23 riders were still together with 7km to go.


Here Matija Kvasina (Felbermayr) launched the first attack, leaving just 6 riders in the front group. With 4km to go, Roglic countered the move and he had an advantage of 12 seconds with 3km to go. He managed to maintain his speed all the way to the finish to take the biggest win of his carer



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