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Sam Bennett started and finished with a victory, overall title goes to his teammate Rafal Majka

Irish Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) did it again! He took his second Tour of Slovenia victory today in Novo mesto, this time in the battle with Mark Cavendish (Team Dimension Data). Sam’s teammate Rafal Majka is the overall winner of the race! Atmosphere by the roads was unbelievable, especially in Novo mesto and also Šentjur where people prepared an incredible welcome for the cyclists.

Team Bora-Hansgrohe is leaving Slovenia with lots of nice impressions and bag full of trophies – they won three out of for stages and three out of four jerseys! Their riders Sam Bennett and Rafal Majka are in the spotlight, but the credits really go to the whole team for great performance on all stages. They came to Slovenia to win and they won big time.

Sam Bennett outsprinted Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) today in Novo mesto: “It was very difficult today. Guys were doing a really good job today trying to defend a jersey and control the breakaway. We didn’t have so many guys in the end, but also everybody was so fresh coming into finish, the pace was very high. It was a technical finish, so it was a little bit dangerous, I was a little bit worried. The guys really looked after me and at one kilometer to go I started to move up to the front. There was right-hander and everybody went to the right side of the road, we came on the outside and then we were in the front for the left-hander. I was first or second on the last turn. I left a little bit of a gap, so I could take a run at him [Mark Cavendish] over the bridge and I hit last 200 meters with full speed. I’m really proud of the team that did a fantastic job and I really want to thank them.” Sam also gave a comment on his today’s rival Cavendish: “It was a little bit of luck. Rudi [Selig] did such a good job in the final meters… People can only go so quick, all I have to do is hold on to the pace I was delivered at.“ Mark was happy with second place finish and later said that he would like to come back to Slovenia.

Sam Bennett also won the red jersey for the points classifications.

Stage from Rogaška Slatina to Novo mesto was calm to the last 40 kilometers – all the way to the last laps in and around Novo mesto. Six riders managed to create a breakaway early on, but they never had a chance against teams like Bora-Hansgrohe, Orica-Scott and Bahrain-Merida taking their sprinters to the good positions for the last meters of the race. Rafal Majka also did his job perfectly and defended the green jersey – he also got a unique trophy, 3D printed replica of the 5200 old wheel (oldest known in existence!) that was found in Slovenia. Rafal Majka: “Hard race is behind us, I’m glad I won. We got three jerseys and three stages! We did an amazing job, not just me, but the whole team. My legs feel strong, but I’m still waiting for the right power for the Tour of France. The four stages of Tour of Slovenia were perfect for me and my Tour campaign. I suffered a little bit today, it wasn’t easy.”

Young Slovenian Tadej Pogačar and his team Rog-Ljubljana also did a great job in defending the white jersey of the best young rider. “We didn’t have any problems on the last day, we had a nice ride all the way to the finish. We’re ready to answer on attacks, but there weren’t any. So I was riding in the middle of the group and brought the white jersey to the finish. This is my first race of this category and I got a lot of experiences on it. Media attention was but, but it was also a beautiful race,” said Tadej after the end of the race in Novo mesto. White jersey is a reward for the great performance on the climb to Rogla.

Best team of the race is team Nippo-Vini Fantini from Italy.

Race director Bogdan Fink is of course satisfied with how the race developed and the impact it has in cycling world and as a perfect event for the promotion of Slovenia: “My evaluation of the race is very positive. Enormous amount of people saw the race and our country as a potential holiday destination. Reach of all digital channels has increased for 10- to 15-times. Most of all we're happy that we reached people from outside of Slovenia and they showed an interest in the race and Slovenia. This means that the project has fulfilled its mission.

 

Feedback from all sides is very positive. Now we have to do analysis with all our partners that we sincerely thank for their support. After that we’ll decide where to take the race in the future. Our task is to first finish 24th edition and then think about our next steps. I must stress that without Adria Mobil group this historic moment with live broadcast on Eurosport wouldn’t be possible.”

24th Tour of Slovenia is behind us, full of surpasses and for the first time ever with live broadcast on Eurosport. 25th anniversary is scheduled for 2018 and surely it will be very special!

Photos by Vid Ponikvar / Sportida

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