27th Tour of Slovenia road cycling race kicks off
Ljubljana, 9 June - The 27th Tour of Slovenia is kicking off on Wednesday, with the star of the 803.7 km-long five-day race being the winner of last year's Tour de France, Tadej Pogačar. The 22-year-old is the undisputed favourite, as he is expected to have no true rivals, at least as far as big names are concerned.
Pogačar is in the final stages of his preparations for this year's Tour de France and is looking to win the race at home for the first time in his career.
He has competed in the Tour of Slovenia four times, finishing fifth in 2017 at the age of 18, fourth the following year (when Primož Roglič won), and achieving another fourth place in 2019.
"The last time I raced in Slovenia, I helped my teammate Ulissi to win. And this time we are coming here with the aim of defending that victory. I will be happy to come home - it's a race I'd really like to win," the youngster said a few weeks ago.
In addition to Pogačar's UAE Team Emirates, three other top level UCI WorldTeams will compete: BikeExchange, Astana-Premier Tech and Bahrain Victorious, while the remaining 16 teams come from different continental levels.
In total, there will be 23 Slovenians at the start, four of them UCI World Tour competitors.
The Tour of Slovenia belongs to the second-tier professional cycling category (2.Pro), and it will be broadcast live on Eurosport and on Slovenian public television. It will be in the spotlight even more this year due to the appearance of the reigning Tour de France champion, the first time in the history of the race around Slovenia.
The Tour of Slovenia has seen 26 editions so far, having only been cancelled in 2020 and 1997. According to the race's website, 2,883 cyclists have competed in the race so far, with Croatian Radoslav Rogina holding the record for most appearances, as he competed in 19 races.
This year's race will start in Ptuj and end in Novo Mesto on 13 June. It will be the explosive hill climbers who will be in the hunt for the overall victory, with the second and fourth stages being the most demanding.
The 2021 Tour of Slovenia will coincide with another major Slovenian cycling event - the amateur Franja Marathon, which will start in Ljubljana on 13 June.
Stages of the 27th Tour of Slovenia 09 June - Stage 1: Ptuj - Rogaška Slatina (151.5 km) 10 June - Stage 2: Žalec - Celje (147 km) 11 June - Stage 3: Brežice - Krško (165.8 km) 12 June - Stage 4: Ajdovščina - Nova Gorica (164.1 km) 13 June - Stage 5: Ljubljana - Novo Mesto (175.3 km)
Note: Visit the Tour of Slovenia website (https://tourofslovenia.si/en) for more information about the schedule and road closures.