2018 Tour of Slovenia (2.1), June 13-17

For the first time in a while, the Tour of Slovenia on it's 25th edition, will consist of five stages instead of the usual four and it will not finish with a sprint stage in Novo Mesto!

The five stages will include two flat(ish) stages, a hilly stage, a mountain stage and a individual time trial to finish it of.

Stage 1



Stage 1 will take the riders on a ride across the most north-east part of the country. The race will take off in Lendava before traveling to the nearby Hungary. There will be one 4th category hill (Goričko) on the course, but it will just determine the first wearer of the mountain jersey and should not have major influenece on the stage. Expect a big sprinter showdown between Kittel, Cavendish and Groenewegen in Murska Sobota, the biggest city in the region.

Stage 2



Stage 2 takes the riders from the second biggest city in Slovenia, Maribor, to the town of Rogaška Slatina, well known for its spa tourism. The route is mostly flat, but it does include a 3rd category climb 50km from the finish, so if a team is interested, they could try to eliminate some sprinters from the peloton or even for a a brave group of riders to take advatage of the situation and try for glory. It will be interesting to see how the stage will develop from there onwards.

Stage 3



Stage three is where things start to get serious. The first part of the stage starting from Slovenske Konjice will be a rolling one, but it is the last part, where the real racing will take place. The climb to Celjska koča, which was used 2 years ago as a mountain TT will make some differences, being a 7,5km climb at 6,3%. But the real problem will be getting down, because the downhill is really dangerous and technical. When that is dealt with, the riders will finish in Celje, more specifically next to the castle, which happens to be on a hill. So expect a victory from a strong puncher or someone, who could take advantage of a techical descent to get himself enough of a gap.

Stage 4



Stage 4 is considered a queen stage, but not finishing atop a mountain this time, which should benefit some more agressive racing, since the mountain goats will try and get themselves some advantage over the likes of Roglič before the ITT. The stage starts in the capital and takes the riders west, through Škofja Loka and Kranj. Then the riders head north, towards Jezersko. The road will rise for about 25km, but the classified climb is around 10km long with an average gradient of 5,1%, the most difficult part coming in the last 5km. From there it is over the border to Austria, where the riders will take on the 1st catergory climb of Pavličevo sedlo. Being a 5km climb with an average at more than 10% it could make some differences. A long descent through Logarska dolina will follow, before taking on the last climb of the day, another 5km climb to Volovjek. From there, a techincal descent will take the riders to the finishing line in Kamnik.

Stage 5 - ITT



Unlike the previos years, the decision of the final winner will be made on the last day. A 21,5 km rolling individual time trial, will take the riders from Trebnje to the headquaters of Adria Mobil in Novo mesto, where the race will finish. A distance like this can provide some considarable differences, so expect the likes of Roglič to shine.

Overall, the route this year is nice and the extra day (or two days, since there is no last day parade) will make for some interesting racing. The five stages basically have something for every type of rider and the absence of the mountain top finish might make the racing more agressive and less predictable. For the second year running, all stages will be broadcasted on Eurosport.

Bigger teams and important riders.

BORA - hansgrohe - MAJKA Rafał (the defending champion)
Team LottoNL-Jumbo - ROGLIC Primoz, GROENEWEGEN Dylan
Bardiani - CSF
Adria Mobil - BRAJKOVIČ Janez
Team Katusha - Alpecin - KITTEL Marcel, DOWSETT Alex
Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team - MOHORIC Matej
UAE-Team Emirates
Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale
Team Sunweb
Dimension Data - CAVENDISH Mark, RENSHAW Mark, ANTON Igor
Mitchelton-Scott - MEZGEC Luka, EWAN Caleb, HAYMAN Mathew, IMPEY Daryl
Androni - Sidermec - Bottecchia
Nippo - Vini Fantini - Europa Ovini
Gazprom-RusVelo
Israel Cycling Academy
Delko Marseille Provence KTM
CCC Sprandi Polkowice - TRATNIK Jan

Prediction: For the overall, there only seems to be one favourite. Primož Roglič, winning the last two stage races he participated in will try to dominate in his own country as well. He has won the race in 2015 with Adria mobil. The ITT on the last day is his biggest advantage and it will mean he will be able to follow the wheels of the likes of Majka, who will try to defend his crown from last year.

But the presence of Kittel, Cavendish, Groenewegen, Ewan, Mezgec... will make stages one and two really interesting, since the top sprinters will go head to head for the last time before the Tour de France.
 
Re:

Vasilis said:
This doesn't look like a race for sprinters to me, but I guess it's better than the Dauphine or Suisse...
The cancellation of the Ster ZLM Tour has made sure there aren't really any good prep races suited to sprinters. If they resurrected something like the Tour de Picardie and put it in the middle of June, they'd get a great startlist.
 
Re: Re:

Squire said:
Vasilis said:
This doesn't look like a race for sprinters to me, but I guess it's better than the Dauphine or Suisse...
The cancellation of the Ster ZLM Tour has made sure there aren't really any good prep races suited to sprinters. If they resurrected something like the Tour de Picardie and put it in the middle of June, they'd get a great startlist.
Ah I didn't know ZLM was cancelled. Surely if both the Dauphine and Suisse lack any sprint stages, someone should be able to capitalise on that. Oh well, maybe it will keep us in the dark about the sprinters' form before the Tour a little more, building some anticipation.
 
Re: Re:

Vasilis said:
Squire said:
Vasilis said:
This doesn't look like a race for sprinters to me, but I guess it's better than the Dauphine or Suisse...
The cancellation of the Ster ZLM Tour has made sure there aren't really any good prep races suited to sprinters. If they resurrected something like the Tour de Picardie and put it in the middle of June, they'd get a great startlist.
Ah I didn't know ZLM was cancelled. Surely if both the Dauphine and Suisse lack any sprint stages, someone should be able to capitalise on that. Oh well, maybe it will keep us in the dark about the sprinters' form before the Tour a little more, building some anticipation.
Hammer Series is on its turf a week or so earlier...
 
Some quotes:

@rogla: It is really special to race at home. They say I am a favourite but we all start from zero.

@UranRigoberto: I am here to prepare for the Tour. Maybe one stage, but Roglič is very strong for the GC.

@MarkCavendish: I only came because of the food. It's a great line up of sprinters here.

@marcelkittel: We have 2, maybe only one opportunity for the sprint, because I don't know how hard the second stage is. Is nice to do a new race. I have been here once with my parents.

@majkaformal: The favourite is Roglič but I will try to something and also Formolo is here.

 
Re:

Lequack said:
So all the top sprinters will clash at this race it seems, Kittel, Groenewegen, Cavendish, Ewan. All that's missing are the Quickstep boys. I think it's their final preparation race before the Tour.
Well yeah the pure sprinters, you got Gaviria, Demare, Sagan, Kristoff etc. in Suisse, so its 50/50
 
Startlist has changed in the last couple of days. This is the official one: https://www.procyclingstats.com/race/tour-of-slovenia/2018/stage-1/startlist

Amazing field for a 2.1 race. So you have Roglic, Uran, Majka, Formolo as the main guys for the GC with youngsters like Pogacar and Sosa also trying to be up there with the best. Some seasoned riders from the home team Adria Mobil like Brajkovic, Rogina and Golcer (all former winners) who have this race as a main goal. As 2nd tier riders for GC I'll add Durasek, Kiserlovski, Novak, Mohoric, Tratnik. Feel free to add someone if you think he'll do well. There are some riders especially from conti teams that are completely unknown to me.

But the biggest quality of course is among the sprinters. Kittel, Groenewegen, Ewan, Cavendish, Modolo, Bonifazio, Kump, Pelucchi... Those names guarantee exciting sprint finishes on stages 1 and 2.

In the ITT the two home favourites Roglic and Tratnik will have strong competition in Dowsett, Impey and Durbridge. I have a hard time seeing anyone outside those five winning it.
 
Re:

Anderis said:
Interesting how this, previously rather small race, has suddenly got one of the most interesting sprinting fields of all stage races.
Two reasons, I guess:
1) it is right before TdF;
2) there are only few stages for pure sprinters in other prep races taking place in June (CdD, TdS, Occitanie).
 
Re: Re:

*** the quick said:
Anderis said:
Interesting how this, previously rather small race, has suddenly got one of the most interesting sprinting fields of all stage races.
Two reasons, I guess:
1) it is right before TdF;
2) there are only few stages for pure sprinters in other prep races taking place in June (CdD, TdS, Occitanie).
Yes, but it has been like that for years?
 
Re:

RedheadDane said:
Cavendish crashing… give the guy a break!
And I don't mean broken bone...
Or, maybe not... bit confused now. :confused:

But UAE just managed to get their second win in one day, Consonni takes it.
I think Cavendish made it out okay, it was his teammate Renshaw that crashed, but I guess Cavendish got help up as well. As did Kittel.
 
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