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.
Learn more about the Franja Marathon here
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.
STA, 1 June 2019 - Slovenian rider Primož Roglič fell further behind the pink jersey in Saturday's penultimate stage of the Giro d'Italia to slip from third to fourth in overall standings, with his fans costing him precious seconds.
With only the 17-kilometre individual time trial to go before the finish at the Verona Arena, Roglič is now 3 minutes and 16 seconds behind Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz, who retained the overall leader's pink jersey.
This includes ten penalty seconds slapped on the Jumbo-Visma rider after his Slovenian fans pushed his bike for a few seconds up the climb just below the Croce d'Aune pass.
This was after Roglič failed to defend an attack by Mikel Landa, Carapaz's lieutenant at Movistar, some 13 kilometres before the finish line.
A Slovenian fan was also involved in another incident following a few kilometres further as he knocked Colombian rider Miguel Angel Lopez off his bike running to close to him, earning a few punches from the Colombian in the process.
Today's tough 194-kilometre stage in the Dolomites, which featured five categorised climbs, finished at Monte Avena with the victory of Spain's Astana ruder Pello Bilbao ahead of his compatriot Landa, and Italian Giulio Ciccone.
Overall, Vincenzo Nibali continues in second, while Landa overtook Roglič in third.
STA, 31 May 2019 - Slovenian canoeists Benjamin Savšek, Anže Berčič and Luka Božič won the team event at the European Canoe Slalom Championships in France's Pau on Friday, beating the second-placed French team by a mere 0.16 seconds. The kayak team followed the success up by grabbing silver.
The battle with the host nation was tough and nail-biting from the start until the very end, with the Slovenians eventually prevailing. The third place went to Russia.
This is the second gold medal at the European championships for Slovenia in team events, the first coming in 2014 in Vienna with the same line-up of Savšek, Berčič and Božič.
The trio, which has been competing together for eight years, had been considered favourites due to their quality and experience, which they indeed proved on the course after narrowly missing gold at last year's world championship.
"We managed to merge all three 'egos' into one. We managed an excellent run, we made no mistakes, and I'm really happy that we got the gold. The fight was really tough, it was so tense at the finish line," said Savšek.
The trio will have to wait a little bit to properly celebrate the win, as they are scheduled to take part in an individual competition on Saturday.
"A new competition, a new day is ahead of us tomorrow. Everything will start from scratch. I hope that this win will not be the only one and that we will be celebrating two wins tomorrow," added the 32-year-old veteran.
This was not the only medal for Slovenia today, as kayakers Peter Kauzer, Martin Srabotnik and Niko Testen were second in the team event, conceding only to the Czech team, while finishing ahead of Germany.
"The Czechs deserved to win, they were too good. It is important that we started the competition with a medal, and I sincerely hope that we will win some more," said the veteran Kauzer.
This is the fourth gold medal for Slovenia in team events at the European championships, with Kauzer being a member of all four teams. He will have the opportunity to win another one in the individual competition on Sunday.
STA, 23 May 2019 - Two Slovenian mountaineers have completed a series of climbs in remote mountains of Alaska on routes that no human ever set foot on before, conquering three virgin peaks in the process.
Janez Svoljšak and Miha Zupin pioneered five complex new routes in the total length of 4,250 metres in the mountains above the Revelation Glacier between mid-March and mid-April.
The longest and toughest to descend was a 1,300 metre Slovenian route up Apocalypse North, a 2,750 metre peak never climbed before. It took the pair eight hours and a half to climb the mountain.
The expedition was supported by the Slovenian Mountaineering Association, which noted in a press release that the area explored had been visited by one mountaineering expedition a year on average over the past decade, and that the base camp was only accessible by aircraft.
"The area is remote, which means communication is limited to satellite phone messages, and access to the base camp depends on the weather," said Svoljšak, the head of the expedition.
"The weather there is very unsettled, which was hardest during the first few days when the wind bent the poles supporting our tent, and forced us to move on our knees while climbing the ridge."
The strong winds blew large amounts of snow into the face of the mountain, which they had to remove in order to hit the rock or ice, which Svoljšak said was harder than climbing.
Svoljšak, like Zupin member of the Kranj mountaineering section, won the European ice climbing championship title plus a World Cup event in 2016.
The Slovenian Alaska expedition also pioneered the conquest of Four Horsemen East (2,600 m) via a 600 metre East Ridge route, and a peak that they named Wailing Wall (2,450 m).
They also climbed the east face of Golgotha (2,724 m) up a virgin 900 metre route that they named Farther, and Seraph (2,650 m) up a 700 metre new route they christened as The Last Supper for Snow Strugglers.
The weekend saw another IFSC competition event, this time bouldering in Munich, with five Slovenian women in the top 8, and two Slovenian men in the same.
As usual, the women’s event was won by Janja Garnbret, with second and tird places going to Fanny Gibert (France) and Mia Krampl (Slovenia). The other Slovenes in the top 8 were Katja Kadić (6th), Vota Lukan (7th) and Lučka Rakovec (8th).
Turning to the men’s event, this was won by Austria’s Jakob Schubert, followed by Adam Ondra (Czech Republic) and Jan Hojer (Germany).The Slovene’s in the top 8 were Anže Perharc (5th) and Gregor Vezonik (8th).
If you’re in Ljubljana and want to see the world’s best sports climbers in action, then note that on Saturday Kongresni trg will see Janja Garnbret and others in a free event, Triglav the Rock, with details here.
STA, 19 May 2019 - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič won stage nine of the Giro d'Italia by finishing first in today's 34.8-kilometre time trial that ended in San Marino. His second victory in time trial earned Roglič second place overall. "My goal is to have the (pink) jersey in Verona," Roglič told the press.
Roglič, who already won the opening time trial, finished today's race on wet roads that ended with a 12-kilometre ascent to San Marino, in 51 minutes and 52 seconds.
Belgian Victor Campenaerts, the European champion who broke the hour record last month, came 11 seconds behind him, followed by Dutch Bauke Mollema, who was a minute behind.
Italian Valerio Conti has retained his pink jersey, but Roglič is now only a minute and 50 seconds behind in second place.
"Everything worked out for me today. It was a shame that the rain started just before the start and it stayed rainy until the end. I tried to minimise the risks in the turn, and make up for the difference in the difficult parts," Roglič told the press.
The third and decisive time trial will be held on the last day of the race in Verona. "My goal is to have the (pink) jersey in Verona. I'm not sorry that I don't have it now," said Roglič, smiling.
He was hinting to the media obligations that the pink jersey brings. Cyclists will have a day off on Monday, and since the Tuesday and Wednesday races will be more or less flat, he is planning on saving his strength.
After wearing the pink jersey for the first five days of the legendary race, Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) lost the overall lead to Conti (UAE Emirates) on Thursday and dropped to 11th place.
STA, 16 May 2019 - Maribor have secured their 15th national football championship three rounds before the end of the season with a 3:1 win in Celje on Wednesday.
After blowing the chance of locking up the title last Saturday at home against the rivals Olimpija Ljubljana, Maribor were far more determined last evening in Celje.
The seventh national championship title for the club from Slovenia's second city in the last nine seasons was secured in the last ten minutes with goals by Jan Mlakar and Dino Hotić.
The win was coupled with Olimpija, the defending champions, losing at home to Domžale to fall eleven points behind Maribor three rounds to go.
Olimpija has been the fiercest rival to Maribor this season, but too much turmoil within the club has not allowed the rivalry to be close although Olimpija has maintained its second place in the rankings since the 8th round.
Maribor have meanwhile kept the first place in the standings since the second round, coming out of the gates in the first five matches by scoring as many as 19 goals.
The club has also remained at the top in terms of goals scored, while the defence headlined by goalie Kenan Pirić allowed a season-leading 29 goals so far, six goals fewer than the closest opponent in this department, Mura.
Maribor, the only Slovenian club to have played in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, have been dominant lately, with Olimpija being the only other title winner in the last nine years, in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 seasons.
Commenting on the feat, Maribor head coach Darko Milanič said the club had been very dominant this season, and praised the players as well as the fans for "their unbelievable support".
"We're working hard, we've deserved the championship, and I'm very proud of the team. I enjoy sitting on this bench, as many good things are happening," he added.
Sport director Zlatko Zahovič is happy that Maribor have managed to defeat the financially stronger Olimpija. "When the opponent functions only with money, it is hard to play against it."
Maribor will have the opportunity to win the double title as they play Olimpija in the national cup final at the end of the month.