Tour of Slovenia #3: Ghebreigzabhier dukes it out with favourites

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Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) won stage 3 of the Tour of Slovenia, winning an uphill sprint against Daryl Impey (Mitchelton-Scott). Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo) finished in 3rd place on the stage.

The Tour of Slovenia made its way into the hills today, with a cat 2 climb coming just 25km before the final 2km climb up to Celje would decide the winner. Johann van Zyl was very active for our African Team in the opening kilometers of the 175km stage, trying to make the break of the day. The peloton had other ideas and kept pulling all the early break attempts back.

Eventually, it was Marcel Kittel (Katusha) and Roger Kluge (Mitchelton-Scott) that were allowed clear. The sprinters were given as much as 5-minutes lead, as it was inevitable that they would be caught on the cat 2 climb at the back end of the stage. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka rode near the front of the peloton for most of the day, looking after our young neo pro, Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier, for the climb.

As the race hit the climb, LottoNL-Jumbo set an incredibly fast pace which blew the race wide open, catching the 2 early leaders almost immediately. 11 riders started going clear on the climb, Ghebreigzabhier was showing his talent by being part of this selection.

Over the top of the climb Matej Mohric (Bahrain-Merida) put in a daring attack, riding away from the main chase group on the downhill. A few riders were able to regain contact with Ghebreigzabhier and co. on the descent, as they started to chase down the 20″ gap to Mohric.

The Slovenian started the final 2km climb with his 20″ lead in tact but the effort to try and stay away took its toll. Attacks were fired from the favourites group, which had swelled to 21 riders by the start of the final climb. Our young Eritrean dug deep to stay with the leaders for as long as he could, only losing contact in the final 400m.

Uran edged Impey for the stage win and also took the yellow jersey. Ghebreigzabhier held on for a strong 14th place, 24″ behind the winner.

Amanuel Ghebreigzabhier – Rider

Today was a hard stage. I started the 2nd last climb in a good position thanks to the team. It was 10km climb and after 8km, the pace started to become a little bit too slow for me but the group was also a bit big to do anything. The last climb was bit up and down, some short and steep parts but also less steep. So it was more difficult for me to follow the power riders (than pure climbers), but I am happy with the result in the end. I was not so far from the winner and I was really happy with how the legs felt, especially on the 2nd last climb.