STA, 22 June 2019 - Race leader Diego Ulissi of Italy (UAE Emirates) defended the green jersey at the Tour of Slovenia on Saturday and is on track to being declared the overall winner as the race wraps up on Sunday.
Another Italian, Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli) won Saturday's hilly 154-kilometre stage from Nova Gorica to Ajdovščina in the final spring.
But Ulissi finished in the leading group together with his Slovenian teammate Tadej Pogačar and Russian rider Alexandr Vlasov (Gazprom-Rusvelo).
The race concludes on Sunday with a mostly flat 167-kilometre stage from Trebnje to Novo Mesto that is unlikely to provide much opportunity for changes at the top.
* Results of the 4th stage:
1. G. VISCONTI ITA 4:00:53
2. D. ULISSI ITA same
3. T. POGAČAR SLO time
4. A. VLASOV RUS
5. A. VENDRAME ITA +0:32
6. E. CHAVES COL same time
7. F. MASNADA ITA 0:33
8. B. HERMANS BEL 1:38
9. C. MEYER AUT 2:22
10. L. ROTA ITA 2:22
* Overall results after the 4th stage:
1. D. ULISSI ITA 15:39:28
2. G. VISCONTI ITA +0:22
3. A. VLASOV RUS 0:25
4. T. POGAČAR SLO 0:30
5. A. VENDRAME ITA 1:04
6. E. CHAVES COL 1:08
7. F. MASNADA ITA 1:15
8. B. HERMANS BEL 2:13
9. J. POLANC SLO 2:58
10. R. ROGINA CRO 4:49
STA, 21 June 2019 - Italian Diego Ulissi (UAE Emirates) won the third stage of Tour of Slovenia on Friday, also taking the overall lead two stages before the end of the race. Ullissi crossed the finish line 12 seconds before Russian Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom).
Italian rider Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli - Selle Italia) was the third to cross the finish line of the 170-kilometre stage from Žalec to Idrija, while Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates) was the best Slovenian, taking fifth place today and sixth overall.
Ulissi escaped Vlasov two kilometres before the finish after the pair had broken away from the main group in the last climb of the stage. On the descend, they gained a 20-second advantage over the main group.
Stage 3 results
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita/UAE Emirates) 3:58:01
2 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Gazprom-Rusvelo) + 0:12
3 Giovanni Visconti (Ita/Neri Sottoli) 0:17
4 Andrea Vendrame (Ita/Androni)
5 Tadej Pogačar (Slo/UAE Emirates)
6 Jan Polanc (Slo/UAE Emirates)
7 Esteban Chaves (Col/Michelton-Scott)
8 Ben Hermans (Bel/Israel Cycling Academy) all same time
9 Fausto Masnada (Ita/Androni) 0:19
10 Luka Mezgec (Slo/Michelton-Scott) 2:08
11 Grega Bole (Slo/Bahrain Merida)
17 Žiga Ručigaj (Slo/Ljubljana Gusto Santic)
33 Kristjan Hočevar (Slo/Team Slovenia) all same time
1 Diego Ulissi (Ita/UAE Emirates) 11:38:41
2 Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus/Gazprom-Rusvelo) + 0:19
3 Andrea Vendrame (Ita/Androni) 0:26
4 Giovanni Visconti (Ita/Neri Sottoli) 0:26
5 Ben Hermans (Bel/Israel Cycling Academy) 0:30
6 Tadej Pogačar (Slo/UAE Emirates)
7 Jan Polanc (Slo/UAE Emirates)
8 Esteban Chaves (Col/Michelton-Scott) all same time
9 Fausto Masnada (Ita/Androni) 0:36
10 Luka Mezgec (Slo/Michelton-Scott) 2:11
11 Grega Bole (Slo/Bahrain-Merida) 2:15
STA, 20 June 2019 - Slovenian Luka Mezgec of Mitchelton-Scott won the second stage of Tour of Slovenia on Thursday. Fans at the finish line in Celje were delighted to see that the second place also went to a Slovenian, Grega Bole of Bahrain Merida. Italian Andreo Vendrame of Androni Giocattoli - Sidermec came in third.
Mezgec emerged as the best rider in a long sprint today, taking the overall lead from German Pascal Ackermann, who won the first stage yesterday. Bole is second overall, 4 seconds behind Mezgec.
"It really was an interesting stage with a very demanding finish. The climb to Celjska Koča is hard. I knew I needed to perform the best I can," Mezgec said after the race.
It seemed that the 146-kilometre stage will be decided by a group of leaders but the pursuing group, including Mezgec, Bole and Slovenia's Tadej Pogačer and Jan Polanc (both UAE Emirates), caught up with them only a couple hundred metres before the finish line.
Pogačar crossed the finish line as ninth and Polanc was twelfth.
Tomorrow, the cyclists are in for a 170 kilometre stage between Žalec and Idrija, which will expectedly produce the likely names battling for the overall win. The last stage will take place on Sunday.
Mezgec's victory today was the 52nd time that a Slovenian has won a stage of Tour of Slovenia, which was first staged in 1993.
Meanwhile, last year's Tour of Slovenia winner Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma), who was third in Giro d'Italia this year, announced on Twitter last night that his partner Lora Klinc had given birth, posting a picture of him holding the newborn.
STA, 19 June 2019 - German Pascal Ackermann of the German team Bora-Hansgrohe is the winner of the first stage of the 26th Tour of Slovenia cycling race between Ljubljana and Rogaška Slatina on Wednesday. The stage saw a massive sprint at the end, with the German winning the 171 km stage with a time of 4 hours, 4 minutes and 58 seconds.
Germany's national champion was followed by two Italian cyclists - Giacomo Nizzolo, a member of Team Dimension Data, who finished second and Simone Consonni, who currently rides for UAE Team Emirates, in the third place.
Ackermann also won the second and fifth stages of the 2019 Giro d'Italia, becoming the first German rider to win the points classification and the best sprinter of this year's Italian race.
Luka Mezgec of Mitchelton-Scott in fourth place was the best among Slovenian cyclists participating in this year's Tour of Slovenia. He initiated the finishing sprint but then lagged behind the victorious trio.
Ackerman, who won the tenth stage win for Germany in Slovenia's prime road cycling race, said that "the start was quite easy, while the things got serious some 60 kilometres before the finish. I'm happy that I made it. Thanks to the team."
The 25-year-old admitted that it was the most difficult sprint finish in his life, as he needed to start sprinting 500 metres ahead of the finish line. "I had to start early. It was not easy."
Almost 130 cyclists started the 808.5-km, five-day race in Ljubljana at noon today.
This year's Tour of Slovenia does not feature Slovenia's best cyclist Primož Roglič, as the race's two-time winner, including last year, is taking a break after recently finishing third overall in the Giro D'Italia.
The race, which is broadcast live by Eurosport and the Slovenian public broadcaster TV Slovenija, will continue tomorrow in Maribor and end on 23 June in Novo Mesto.
The route provides opportunities for sprinters in the opening and final stages, while the remaining stages, in particular no. 3 and 4, will require some serious climbing power.
* Results of 1st stage of Tour of Slovenia:
1 Pascal Ackermann (GER/Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:04:58
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA/Dimension Data)
3 Simone Consonni (ITA/Team Emirates)
4 Luka Mezgec (SLO/Michelton-Scott)
5 Andrea Vendrame (ITA/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
6 Rui Oliveira (POR/UAE Emirates)
7 Grega Bole (SLO/Bahrain-Merida)
8 Jeremy Leveau (FRA/Delko Marseille)
9 Kristian Sbaragli (ITA/Israel Cycling Academy)
10 Umberto Marengo (ITA/Neri Sottoli)
11 Marko Kump (SLO/Adria Mobil)
13 Andi Bajc (SLO/Felbermayr)
17 Tadej Pogačar (SLO/UAE Emirates)
20 Jan Polanc (SLO/UAE Emirates) same time
- Overall standings:
1 Pascal Ackermann (GER/Bora-Hansgrohe) 4:04:58
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (ITA/Dimension Data) + 0:04
3 Simone Consonni (ITA/Team Emirates) 0:06
4 Diego Ulissi (ITA/UAE Emirates) 0:07
5 Aljaž Jarc (SLO/Adria Mobil)
6 Matteo Busato (ITA/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec) 0:08
7 Matthias Krizek (AUT/Felbrmayer) 0:09
8 Luka Mezgec (SLO/Mitchelton-Scott) 0:10
9 Andrea Vendrame (ITA/Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec)
10 Rui Oliveira (POR/UAE Emirates)
11 Grega Bole (SLO/Bahrain-Merida)
15 Marko Kump (SLO/Adria Mobil)
17 Andi Bajc (SLO/Felbermayr)
21 Tadej Pogačar (SLO/UAE Emirates)
24 Jan Polanc (SLO/UAE Emirates) same time
STA, 18 June 2019 - Ljubljana, the runner up of the last Slovenian football premier league season, is reportedly in the process of being sold to an Italian businessman. According to sports paper Ekipa SN, Olimpija's chairman Milan Mandarić is looking to sell the club for at least EUR 6 million.
Mandarić, an Serbian-American tycoon who also owned England's Portsmouth, Leicester City and Sheffield Wednesday in the past, bought the Ljubljana club from banana wholesaler Izet Rastoder in 2015, reportedly for EUR 4 million.
According to Tuesday's report on Ekipa SN's website, the potential new owner is Italian businessman Gabriele Nardin, who was already involved in Slovenian football at lower levels through Jadran Dekani, a small village club that currently plays in the second Slovenian league.
Ekipa says Nardin has until 10 July to pay the first instalment in the amount of EUR 3 million.
Mandarić would reportedly also be entitled to the revenue from the sale of players, while part of the deal is allegedly also connected to a potential transfer of Slovenia's star goalkeeper Jan Oblak form Madrid's Atletico.
If Oblak left Madrid, Olimpija would also be entitled to part of the buyout sum as compensation for having raised the player, the paper reported.
While Olimpija has seen a seemingly never ending streak of headcoach replacements under Mandarić, the club also ended a 20-year national championship drought in 2015/2016. Olimpija won the national title again 2017/18, also becoming the Cup winner that year and again this year.
STA, 14 June 2019 - The 26th Tour of Slovenia, the country's biggest road cycling event, will get under way on 19 June. While the 808.5-kilometre race, divided into five stages, also features a number of international stars, the top favourite is Slovenia's young cycling sensation Tadej Pogačar.
This year's Tour of Slovenia will not feature Slovenia's best cyclist Primož Roglič, as the race's two-time winner, including last year, is taking a break after recently finishing third overall in the Giro D'Italia.
There will however be no lack of star power at the race, which was upgraded this year to HC (hors class) status, the second highest category on the race calendar of the International Cycling Union.
Some of the big sprinter names with stage win ambitions include former world champion Mark Cavendish from Britain, as well as the best sprinter of this year's Giro, Germany's Pascal Ackermann, while Pogačar's likely main rival for the overall win is Esteban Chaves.
The Columbian, whose career highlights include a second overall finish at the Giro and a third-place overall finish in Spain's La Vuelta, also won a Giro stage this year, as did three more participants of the Slovenian race - Italian riders Damiano Cima, Cesare Benedetti and Fausto Masnada.
Expectations are running high for 20-year-old Pogačar, who won the WorldTour race in California in May after also taking the overall victory at the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal in February.
Pogačar, looking to clinch the 13th Slovenian victory at the Tour of Slovenia after he was the race's best young rider in the last two years, will have the backing of his Slovenian UAE team Emirates teammate Jan Polanc. A two-time Giro stage winner, the 27-year-old held the pink jersey of the overall leader in the Italy race in two stages this year.
The race, which will be broadcast live by Eurosport and public broadcaster TV Slovenija, will start next Wednesday in Ljubljana and end on 23 June in Slovenia's unofficial cycling capital Novo Mesto.
The route will provide opportunities for sprinters in the opening and final stage, while the remaining stages, in particular no. 3 and 4 will require some serious climbing power.
Meanwhile, deserving special mention is Croatian rider Radoslav Rogina, who will be participating in the race for the 20th time. The member of the Slovenian team Adria Mobile won the race in 2013.
Standing out among teams will be Novo Nordisk, all of whose riders compete with type 1 diabetes. "We race to inspire, educate and empower everyone affected by diabetes as we compete against the best cyclists in the world," the team wrote on its website.
STA, 11 June 2019 - The Slovenian national football team defeated Latvia 5:0 in Riga on Monday to earn its first win in the four matches it has so far played in the qualifiers for the 2020 Euro.
In what was almost a do-or-die game after they drew the first two matches and lost to Austria on the road on Friday, Slovenia came out of the gates, with Domen Črnigoj scoring goals in the 24th and 27th minute.
The match was practically decided in the 29th minute, when Josip Iličić scored from the penalty spot for 3:0. The same player scored the fourth goal for Slovenia in the 44th minute from just inside the box.
This was the first time Slovenia scored four goals in the first half since the 2004 Euro qualifier with Cyprus in April 2003.
Slovenia did not have to wait too much for another goal against the hapless Latvians, as Miha Zajc scored in the 47th minute from very close to the goal, setting the final score 5:0.
The pace settled down from then on, with Slovenia more or less controlling the match to earn their biggest win since March 2016, when they defeated the minnows San Marino 6:0 in the 2016 Euro qualifiers.
Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek commended the players for bouncing back from the defeat in Klagenfurt. "You don't score five goals on the road every day. Congratulations to the lads, this is a nice conclusion to the season."
Latvia's Slaviša Stojanović, who coached Slovenia in 2011-2012, said that "this was a football clinic. We saw two different qualities. You can see the difference in quality."
After four rounds in Group G, Slovenia is in fourth place with five points, trailing Poland (12), Israel (7) and Austria (6).
Slovenia will have a break in the qualifiers for three months, and will then host Poland on 6 September an Israel on 9 September.
STA, 10 June 2019 - Slovenia's best road cyclist Primož Roglič, who recently finished third in the Giro d'Italia, will not participate in this year's Tour de France, which will start on 6 July, his team Jumbo-Visma has announced.
Announcing the line-up for the renowned three-week race, the Dutch team confirmed on Monday what had been planned at the start of the season - that the 29-year-old Slovenian will skip it.
Slovenian fans had nevertheless hoped until the last moment that Roglič, who made his best career result in Italy and won two stages, would participate in the Tour de France.
The first name of the Jumbo-Visma team in France will be Dutchman Steven Kruijswijk, who was fifth last year. He will be accompanied by seven helpers.
Speculations about Roglič taking part as a helper and being allowed to win individual stages at the Tour de France appeared in the media after the Giro d'Italia, which ended on 2 June.
At the time, the Dutch team did not want to exclude the possibility of the Slovenian appearing in the race in which he finished fourth last year for the best Slovenian result ever.
STA, 9 June 2019 - Italy's Manuel Fedele won the 38th Franja Marathon, the biggest cycling recreational event in Slovenia, on Sunday, braving 156 kilometres in a record 3 hours, 39 minutes and 38 seconds. The second and third places went to Slovenia's Dean Bratuš and Matej Lovše, respectively.
Today's 156-km and 97-km races were the highlight of the popular cycling event which brings together bicycle enthusiasts from across the country and abroad. Both races started and finished at Ljubljana's BTC shopping district.
The Marathon started on Friday with national time trial championships in a number of categories. Men's race was won by Tadej Pogačar and women's by Eugenia Bujak.
A Barjanka cycling event along the Ljubljana Marshes and a race for families and children were held on Saturday.
The three-day events have brought together more than 7,000 people.
The Franja Marathon was first staged in 1982, featuring around 700 competitors. Since then, it has attracted over 150,000 participants from over 70 countries.
STA, 9 June 2019 - Winning also the last, sixth, bouldering event in Vail, US, Slovenia's Janja Garnbret has completed this year's World Cup bouldering season making history by winning all events in a season. She clinched the overall bouldering title already earlier this year.
"This was my lifetime dream. I can't believe I did it. I'm speechless, I'm so emotional right now," the world's leading sport climber said crying tears of joy.
No male or female climber has managed to win all World Cup bouldering events in a season since the competition was launched in 1999. This was her 25th World Cup win.
Garnbret comes out about 1:52
Garnbret, the winner of the 2018 Slovenian Athlete of the Year Award, has been winning bouldering events ever since 21 April 2018, when she won in Moscow.
Last September, she was also crowned bouldering champion at the Climbing World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria, also taking gold in combined and silver in lead.
Garnbret, who won the lead climbing and combined World Cup titles in the last three years, is a serious candidate for two more milestone achievements this season.
The lead season starts in July and she could well become the first ever climber with four straight lead titles. She also hopes to emerge the winner in combined, which would make her the first climber ever to secure all three titles (bouldering, lead, combined) in a season.
Ahead of the last stage, a 17-km time trial in Verona, the 29-year-old was fourth overall, but he showed his sprinting skills to overtake Spain's Mikel Landa to make it to the podium.
Competing for Jumbo Visma team from the Netherlands, Roglič finished the time trial in 22 minutes and 33 seconds to miss his third win in time trials at this year's Giro D'Italia by 26 seconds.
He was the 10th fastest racer today, beating Landa (Movistar) by 31 seconds for the first podium finish at the Grand Tour races (Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana) for Slovenian cyclists.
The race totalling 3,547 km was won by Richard Carapaz of Equador (Movistar) ahead of Italian Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida). He conceded 49 seconds to Nibali in the last stage to win with an advantage of 1 minute and 5 seconds.
The podium finish for the former ski jumper comes after Roglič finished fourth overall at last year's Tour de France.
The only Slovenian who previously managed to make it to the top ten in Italy was Tadej Valjavec, who was 9th in 2004.
"It's funny to think that a small Slovenian can come to Giro and compete with the best," Roglič told Slovenian reporters in Verona Arena after the race. He added that the podium finish was like a win to him.
"I'm proud and happy," said Roglič, adding that "it is very nice to stand on the podium" and that he would probably realise what he had achieved only later.
"I'm also happy that Slovenians and their fans have lifted the race to another level. I enjoyed in the exceptional support. Thanks to everybody who came to support us," was Roglič's message to fans.
Roglič was in the overall lead for the first five stages as the first Slovenian ever to manage that at the Grand Tour races.
By stage eight, he dropped to 12th place, but in the following stage, he climbed back to the 2nd overall.
Roglič kept the second overall place until stage 16, when he dropped to 3rd, the place he kept until the 19th, mountain stage, when he was overtaken by Landa after receiving penalty seconds.
Slovenia's Jan Polanc (Bahrain Merida), who briefly wore the pink jersey as the race leader in stages 12 and 13, finished the race in the 14th spot overall. His compatriot Grega Bole was 110th.