Domen Novak took an impressive second place on the 164-kilometre-long opening stage from Nova Gorica to Postojna, which passed the hometowns of Jan Tratnik and Matevž Govekar, who made his team debut.
Bahrain Victorious set the pace towards the day’s decisive climb and were able to split up the peloton as the gradient picked up. Jan Tratnik was unable to keep the tempo high enough, allowing two riders from UAE to breakaway with Domen Novak following the move. The trio of Majka, Pogacar (UAE Emirates) and Novak would battle it out to the line. Unfortunately despite Novak’s strong performance, the strength in numbers of UAE isolated him allowing Majka to get away and take the win.
Domen Novak continues his strong form the Giro and showed his GC credentials for the rest of the race: “In the start I had good feelings. But since yesterday I crashed in training I was afraid I would have some consequences, but it was not so. It’s hard to race against two riders, especially if they are from the same team. One is always attacking. I tried, and I’m happy with my result. Tadej and Rafa (UAE) were dictating a strong pace, but I think I could follow them on the climbs. I’m not sure how strong Tadej is, but I could follow Majka. Tadej made a move on the end, I covered and then tried to follow Majka as well, but I couldn’t do it anymore.”
After his debut in Team Bahrain Victorious, Matevž commented on his first race: ”Racing was much easier with such a strong team. You are all the time in the front. We started the climb in the front, which was perfect. The pace was high, and I dropped back. It was my first race, and I am satisfied I did it, and I am very happy for Domen, who finished 2nd. It was a good race. I am looking forward to the next stage.”
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