The Slovenia Times

Rafal Majka surprising winner of stage 1


Rafal Majka (UAE Team Emirates) won first stage of Tour of Slovenia, almost 165 km long race from Nova Gorica to Postojna. Majka already won Slovenian tour back in 2017 and is always a contender for top places, so the victory is not a surprise, the surprise is a victory on the stage that should be won by a sprinter. Domen Novak (Bahrain-Victorious) & Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) crossed the finish line just seconds behind Polish rider and made Slovenian fans very happy.

Tour of Slovenia race director Bogdan Fink is always saying that cyclists are the ones that make a race and today was for sure a proof of that. Stage 1 should fit spinters and breakaway riders, but the attack of three riders was too strong for everyone else. They attacked in the last part of the race, just before three categorized climbs of the day and made it all the way to Postojna. Majka was the fastest in the very end and will wear green tomorrow. Rafal Majka after wining the stage: "This was a good practice for us, but believe me, Tadej will surly win this race. It was a hard day because of the heat, but that is also good because we need to get used to this kind of temperatures before Tour de France. When we saw Bahrain attacking we also opened the gas. Tadej has good legs, so do I as we just came from the training camp in Livigno. This race is very good for our training, it has the right rhythm. I'm happy that Tadej gave me this victory, as he's certainly faster than me. Tadej will for sure win couple of stages in the next days, and then also the race."

Domen Novak obviously kept the top form from Giro and is very competitive on the home roads as well, his today's performance was showing that he aims for top spots in the overall standings: "It's hard to race against two riders, one is always attacking. I tried and I'm happy with my result. Tadej and Rafal were dictating a strong pace, but I think I could follow them on the climbs. I'm not sure how strong Tadej is, but I could follow Majka. Tadej made a move on the end, I covered and then try to follow Majka as well, but I just couldn't do it anymore."

Bigger group followed less than 50 seconds after and showed a proper sprint. Vicenzo Albanese (Eolo-Kometa) won it and took 4th, Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) was 5th. Matej Mohorič was 7th, Jan Tratnik 13th. Slovenian fans are happy with strong performance of the domestic riders that will surly compete for victories on every stage.

Stage 2 will connect Ptuj and Rogaška Slatina, we'll almost certainly get a sprint finish of a bigger group on the end... if we don't get another surprise.


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