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.
STA, 15 May 2019 - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič remains the race leader at the Giro d'Italia after stage five on Wednesday, retaining a 35-second overall lead on the Brit Simon Yates.
Roglič crossed the finish line in 61st place but in the time of the winner, the German Pascal Ackerman, who won a sprint finish in pouring rain to claim his second victory in this year's race.
The 29-year-old Slovenian has been in the lead since the first stage of the race and is the first rider in 16 years to have worn the pink jersey for the first five days.
While the riders braved 140 kilometres in freezing rain today, Thursday's sixth stage covers 238km from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo.
STA, 15 May 2019 - The world body for sports cycling, UCI, has suspended Slovenian riders Kristijan Koren and Borut Božič after being notified of doping suspicions by Austrian authorities.
The Slovenian riders were suspended along with Italian Alessandro Petacchi and Croat Kristijan Đurasek. Koren, Božič and Petacchi allegedly violated anti-doping rules in 2012-13, and Đurasek in 2017.
"The procedure is being handled by the UCI, which has made the announcement, so we cannot comment on the case," said Jani Dvoršak, director of the Slovenian Anti-Doping Agency.
A member of Bahrain-Merida, Koren has been part of the team at the ongoing Giro d'Italia, while Božič is the club's sports director having retired as rider after last year's season.
The UCI took the step based on information received from the law enforcement authorities of Austria.
The body said it was in close contact with the sport and state authorities involved in the Aderlass investigation, in particular with the World Anti-Doping Agency and Austrian law enforcement.
The UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation would not make any further comment at this stage.
Operation Aderlass culminated during this year's Cross-Country Skiing World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, as the police busted a blood doping ring headed by a German doctor and his three aides.
The doctor is suspected of helping athletes achieve better results by means of blood transfusions or blood doping between 2011 and 2019. Twenty-one athletes have been detected as his alleged clients.
Bahrain-Merida confirmed the suspension of Koren and Božič, saying it had a "zero-tolerance doping policy" and "always carries out a thorough medical checks (including biological passport check) of any new signed rider."
The team pointed out that "both cases relate to the 2012 and/or 2013 season" when Koren rode for the Liquigas-Cannondale and Cannondale teams, while Božič rode for Astana.
This is a second doping case involving Slovenian riders this year after it transpired in January that Jani Brajkovič failed a doping test during the Tour of Croatia last year.
Brajkovič, who claimed unintended intake of a banned substance by means of a food supplement, was given a ten-month suspension by the UCI.
This weekend saw another leg of the IFSC Climbing World Cup, with both bouldering and speed events in Wujiang, China. As usual, Janja Garnbret, who competes only in lead and bouldering, took the top spot on the podium, this time followed by Akiyo Noguchi and Ai Mori, both from Japan. Two other Slovenes also made it into the top 20, with Katija Kadić at 13th position, and Lučka Rakovec at 15th.
Turning to the men’s bouldering event, this was won by Austria’s Jakob Schubert, followed by Keita Dohi and Kokoro Fuji, both from Japan. Slovenia’s Jernej Kruder, usually much higher ranked, had to content himself with 16th place, with Gregor Veznok at 15th , while Anze Peharc was 20th.
STA, 5 May 2019 - Slovenian cycling sensation Primož Roglič clinched his second consecutive title as the overall winner of the Tour de Romandie after winning Sunday's time trial in Geneva in his third stage win of the week.
With three stage wins, one second and one third stage spots, the 29-year-old member of the Jumbo-Visma team also won the green jersey in the points classification.
Overall, he finished the race 49 seconds ahead of Portuguese rider Rui Costa, and 1:12 minutes ahead of last year's Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas of Wales.
This is the fifth overall UCI World Tour race victory for Roglič after he took the titles of the tours of the Basque Country and Romandy last year, and won the premiere UAE Tour and the Tirreno-Adriatico race earlier this year.
He has also won two Tour of Slovenia titles (2015 and 2018), the 2017 race of Algarve and the 2015 Tour of Azerbaijan. He finished fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France.
He is one of the favourites to win the Giro d'Italia, starting with a time trial in Bologna on Saturday.
"I'm ready for the Giro now. I'm happy with how the whole week evolved. I'm always glad to come back here," Roglič commented. "I've had a fine day, a fine victory. The team and I did everything right."
STA, 4 May 2019 - Slovenian racing cyclist Primož Roglič won the fourth stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie on Saturday, consolidating his lead in the overall rankings.
The 29-year-old, who currently rides for the Jumbo-Visma team, clinched his second stage win of the week, taking a step closer toward winning his second consecutive title at the Switzerland tour and his third race of the 2019 UCI World Tour.
The Slovenian cyclist crossed the finish line ahead of Portuguese Rui Costa and Welsh Geraint Thomas after conquering 107 kilometres.
The key mountain stage of the race was reduced by 70km due to poor weather conditions, but it still posed quite a challenge mostly because of its 10km summit finish.
Roglič now has a 12-second lead before tomorrow's final stage of the race.
STA, 28 April 2019 - World champion Loic Bruni from France won Sunday's World Cup mountain biking downhill on Slovenia's Pohorje, which hosted the event after a nine-year break. The women's race was won by Britain's Tahnee Seagrave.
Bruni outperformed Britain's Danny Hart by 0.404 seconds, while Australia's Troy Brosnan finished third.
Slovenia's Jure Žabjek, the best male competitor last season, finished 20th.
He is nevertheless happy with the result, making a comeback after injuries cost him almost all of last season.
"I believe I can climb higher," Žabjek, a member of the Slovenian-Canadian Unior/Devinci Factory Racing team, said after the race.
The women's race was won by Seagrave, with Slovenia's Monika Hrastnik, last year's European champion, finishing fifth.
The World Cup event on Pohorje used to be one of the most popular races of the season. The first race was held 20 years.
The organisers said this was Maribor's largest sporting event in recent years.
The Red Bull Media House estimated around 60 million spectators from around the world would tune in live.
You can see the course below, and if you'd like to mountain bike in Pohorje then check out the Bike Park site here