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14.07.2022 - For fans

Rock, scissors, paper, and a green jersey is here

The Tour of Slovenia, one of my favourite tours, is behind us. We fought for the green jersey again and finally won it together with the team. Second in a row. The stages were beautiful, all five of them, and it was hard to decide which one was the winner because there was something particularly beautiful in each one.

The first stage from Nova Gorica to Postojna already offered a real spectacle on the Tratnik’s hill Zadlog out of Idrija. After Sjuk (Jan Tratnik) dictated the pace, together with Majka and Novak from the Bahrain Victorius team, we managed to break away from the group, and just before the finish line, we were competing for the best in the stage. Rafal was celebrating, I was cheering with him like a little kid. Both Rafal and I agreed that the form was good and that we had done good altitude training in Livigno. The stage from Ptuj to Rogaška Slatina was reserved for sprinters. Dylan Groenewegen from Bike Exchange won the stage, and our Aki (Pascal Ackerman) was a great third in the sprint.

Before the start of the third stage, our team was faced with the unpleasant and unfortunate news that our teammate Mikkel Bjerg of Denmark tested positive for covid. He had no choice but to isolate himself and go home as soon as possible, and to prevent it from spreading to the other cyclists on the team, Bjerg’s teammate, the Norwegian Laengen, was forced to go home as well. And that left us with only five cyclists at a time. We hoped that the covid would not affect the race. The third stage was similar to last year’s, with the climb to Svetina, where the key moment of the race took place, the descent on the wet road, and the finish at Celjski grad. On Svetina, Rafal and I managed to build up a half-minute lead, and we approached the descent with caution, with the upcoming Tour de France in mind. I arrived at Celjski grad alone, 11 seconds ahead of Majka and 14 seconds behind me, followed by Italian Conci from Alpecin-Deceuninck.

Stage 4 was awesome. 152.4 km and 2861 altitude meters. The stage was special because I was riding on local roads. I was looking forward to Črnivec, where I have done countless training sessions, and it was a great pleasure to see the many fans along the route, especially over Komenda, to Črnivec and Velika planina. I am glad that I could show myself in the best light in front of the local audience in a beautiful atmosphere and accompanied by Majka. A game of rock, paper, scissors decided the winner☺The last stage was the traditional one with the finish in Novo mesto. It was not a traditional sprinter’s stage, but with a short steep climb to Trška Gora made a big selection where only the most well-rounded cyclists were left in the game for the win. I had always dreamed of one day winning a sprint on the paved Main Square in Novo mesto. The victory was even sweeter because I beat Matej Mohorič, one of the best classical cyclists in the world at the moment, in the sprint finish.

Thank you Komenda, thank you Slovenia!There is something so beautiful about racing on our local roads, feeling our green landscape, and hearing Slovenian words. At times it felt like a dream. I think there were even more people on the side of the route this year than last year, it was nice to see the Slovenian flags flying and hear our names. I had a particularly emotional experience driving through my hometown Komenda, my Klanec, and the yellow roundabout. What a wonderful feeling! I could only raise my hand in greeting all my fellow citizens as a sign of gratitude and support. We were so fast in the race that Komenda was not shown to the viewers around the world and the Eurosport coverage only started on the descent from Tunjice to Kamnik. The next race is the main goal of the season – the one and only – the Tour de France.

Thank you Komenda, thank you Slovenia!

There is something so beautiful about racing on our local roads, feeling our green landscape, and hearing Slovenian words. At times it felt like a dream. I think there were even more people on the side of the route this year than last year, it was nice to see the Slovenian flags flying and hear our names. I had a particularly emotional experience driving through my hometown Komenda, my Klanec, and the yellow roundabout. What a wonderful feeling! I could only raise my hand in greeting all my fellow citizens as a sign of gratitude and support. We were so fast in the race that Komenda was not shown to the viewers around the world and the Eurosport coverage only started on the descent from Tunjice to Kamnik. The next race is the main goal of the season – the one and only – the Tour de France.

Signature of Tadej Pogačar

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