Simone Consonni (Team UAE-Emirates) sprinted to victory on a crash marred stage 1 of the Tour of Slovenia. Matteo Pelucchi (Bora-Hansgrohe) finished in 2nd and Niccolo Bonifazio (Bahrain-Merida) was 3rd.
The opening stage of the Tour of Slovenia was tailor-made for the sprinters but the peloton still had to make its way from Lendava to Murska Sobota over 159km. 5 riders formed the early break of the day but with all the main sprint teams contributing to the chase, Team Dimension Data included, they stood no chance of surviving to the finish today.
With the break caught at 14km to go, Mitchelton-Scott, LottoNL-Jumbo, Bahrain-Merida and our African Team all jostled for position to set our sprinters up for the finale. Coming into the final 5km circuit, Mark Cavendish was on the wheel of Mark Renshaw as our sprint duo tracked the leadout train of Mitchelton-Scott.
All looked to be going according to plan for the big name sprint teams until Caleb Ewan (Mitchelton-Scott) touched wheels with a LottoNL-Jumbo rider and went down. Unfortunately there was nowhere for Renshaw to go but into the bodies and bikes in front of him. It took a great bit of skill for Cavendish to not go down as well, as the Manxman dodged the carnage in front of him and fended off the EF-Education First rider crashing into the back him.
Another crash in the final kilometer took out GC contender Rafa Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) as well as Marcel Kittel (Katusha-Alpecin) and further disrupted the sprint finish, allowing the relatively unknown Consonni to burst through and take the stage win. Cavendish crossed the line in 14th after not being able to contest for the win.
Dr Adrian Rotunno – Team Doctor
Mark Renshaw has sustained some bruising and abrasions on the right side of his body after today’s crash in the closing kilometers of stage 1 at the Tour of Slovenia. Fortunately his injuries will not stop him from continuing on with the race.