Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Caja Rural – Seguros RGA) was the only one that made a serious threat to Phil Bauhaus on the first stage, but now has the stage victory in his hands. Spaniard won 3rd stage of Tour of Slovenia, ahead of Slovenian Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) and Italian Matteo Trentin (UAE Team Emirates).
Stage has developed on the final climb of the day, 20 kilometers before the finish line. Sremič is not even a categorized climb, but the fastest set a brutal pace that broke the peloton in several smaller groups. 30 strong leading group didn’t wait for anyone and came to Krško stretched out thanks to Jan Tratnik (Bahrain Victorious) who made a bold attack only two kilometers before the finish line. This was a very dangerous move, even Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) had to jump in to bridge the gap.
Aberasturi Izaga was very smart and kept the position behind Trentin, then attacked on his left and got his first Tour of Slovenia victory. Jon after the race: »Bauhaus and his team were too strong in the first stage, but today there were only about 30 of us and was a little bit easier to get in the front. I had good legs, but I’s still suffering on the last climb before the finish, then Emirates kept a strong pace. I follow Trentin up to 200 m to the finish line, then went full gas and won the race. I’m very happy, I had a lot of podiums this year, but this is my first victory.«
Slovenian fans would rather see Matej Mohorič to win, but he had to settle with second: “I reacted a little bit too late, but I knew how fast Spaniard is and that is why I’s following him. We expected a sprint finish, that was the most plausible scenario. Bauhaus fell behind after the hellish pace on the climb, Jon managed to cross it with the fastest and he deserved to win.”
Matej also revealed the tactics behind Tratnik’s attack – he would either go for the stage victory or would stretch the group, to make it easier for Matej to get in the front.
Tadej Pogačar easily defended the green jersey, he’s now 1:15 ahead of Mohorič, which should be enough for the tomorrow’s queen’s stage. Tadej Pogačar: “We’re on the defence today, but we’re still aiming for the stage victory. Trentin got 3rd, which is OK, but we of course wanted more. However, the main job is done, we’ve kept the overall lead and don’t have anything to hide for tomorrow. We’ll be in the front and dictate the pace. Anything can happen on such a hard finish climb, but I should be OK.”
Tadej knew how strong Tratnik is and this kind of attack could be very dangerous. It could work for Jan if he didn’t had to go off the tarmac when he was passing the group and lost some speed.
4th stage from Ajdovščina to Sveta gora / Nova Gorica will have five categorized climbs and will partly follow the route of Giro.