20 Jul 2021, 11:58 AM

STA, 20 July 2021 - Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar (UAE Emirates), fresh from his win of the Tour de France, has taken the lead in the rankings of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) for the second time in his brief professional career.

Another Slovenian, Primož Roglič (Jumbo Visma), topped the rankings before the Tour, but having left the race early due to a series of injuries, he is now in third place, behind his teammate Wout Van Aert from the Netherlands.

Pogačar has 4,088 points, 207 points ahead of Van Aert and 777 points on Roglič.

The 22-year-old had jumped to the top of the UCI rankings after his Tour victory last year, but was quickly overtaken by Roglič, who won the Vuelta last November to regain the lead.

With the exception of the brief two-week slip last year, Roglič had topped the UCI rankings from 15 September 2019.

18 Jul 2021, 20:12 PM

STA, 18 July 2021 - Top seed Tamara Zidanšek, the French Open semi-finalist, won the WTA Lousanne Open in Switzerland on Sunday beating France's Clara Burel in the finals after a good two hours with 4:6, 7:6 (5) and 6:1 for what is her first-ever WTA tournament victory.

Zidanšek, the world's number 50, won the Lousanne title as she played in the finals of a WTA tournament for the third time today - after Bogota in April and Nürnberg in 2019.

"I'm really happy I managed to win it, and now I got that under my belt," Zidanšek told following her victory.

"The conditions were tricky, I didn't start well. But from 1-5, I got three [consecutive] games, and I started feeling a little bit better. I just kept telling myself to keep fighting, go for every point. In tennis, everything can change in one point, so I'm really happy with the way I managed to stay in the match."

Last month she made Slovenian tennis history by making it to the semi-finals of the French Open, in what was only the second semi-final appearance for a Slovenian woman tennis player in the singles competition at a Grand Slam tournament in almost four decades and a half.

Today the 23-year-old Slovenian she said that the "semifinals of Roland Garros showed me that my game is good enough to compete with the best".

She is currently the world's number 50, but will progress among the top 40 as the WAT rankings are refreshed on Monday. Her best ranking ever was 46th spot on 21 June.

Burel, the world's youth champion in 2018, is meanwhile the world's No. 125.

17 Jul 2021, 19:18 PM

STA, 17 July 2021 - At 22 years of age Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar secured his second straight overall victory of the Tour de France by placing 8th in the penultimate stage, the time-trial between Libourne and Saint-Emilion.

To win his second yellow jersey, the Team UAE Emirates's rider needs but to survive the final stage concluding on the Champs-Élysées, when the leading rider's lead is a rule not contested.

Today's stage was won by Belgian Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), followed by Dane Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step) and his compatriot Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma).

Pogačar clocked a lag of 57 seconds to place 8th, but commands an unassailable lead of 5:20 minutes ahead of the runner-up Vingegaard heading into the final stage

Ecuador's Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) is third overall, 7:03 minutes behind the leader after placing 23rd today.

Pogačar is thus set to be the youngest two-time winner of the world's biggest cycling race in its 118-year history.

"I'm super happy to finish - it went so fast. There was so much support on the course, I was just enjoying every moment though I was suffering as it was super hot," said.

He said he could not compare last year's Tour victory, when he defeated fellow Slovenian rider Primož Roglič in the time trial in the penultimate stage; "Last year was something else. This year is just different."

17 Jul 2021, 09:10 AM

STA, 16 July 2021 - Slovenia's Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) won stage 19 of the Tour de France from Mourenx to Libourne on Friday after attacking 25km from finish, surging clear from a large breakaway group.

"During this stage I noticed I had good legs, but there was no real cooperation in the first breakaway group. I convinced them we have to keep high rhythm so that sprint teams could no longer control our breakaway," the 26-year-old Mohorič said after the race.

"When Nils Politt attacked, I was on the edge, saying to myself that if that is the hardest moment, I have to give it my best even if I end up on the side of the road. I did my best and when I looked back, there was nobody... I used all of my energy, but fortunately I managed to keep the lead ahead of the fellow chasers."

Mohorič's win of the 207km stage is his second at this year's Tour de France after he won the longest leg of 249 km on 2 July.

His is also the fifth stage win for Slovenia's riders at the world's No.1 cycling race this year, with the remaining three credited to Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates), the defending champion, who is in the overall lead.

This is Mohorič's 14th win in professional cycling, of which two came at the other two major three-week races - the 2017 Vuelta and at Giro d'Italia in 2018.

Wearing the yellow jersey, Pogačar finished today more than 20 minutes behind the winner, but commands an almost six minute lead ahead of the runner-up Jonas Vingegaard (Dan/Jumbo-Visma).

Commenting on the development of Slovenian professional cycling in the light of Mohorič's win, Pogačar said: "This feels great. In Slovenia we always also wanted to succeed in cycling. We were good, now we are winning. It's really great."

15 Jul 2021, 21:26 PM

STA, 15 July 2021 - Slovenia's cycling sensation, Tadej Pogačar won a second stage at the Tour de France in as many days to increase his overall lead and secure the polka-dot jersey of best climber.

The defending champion was first through the finish line on the mountain stage from Pau to Luz Ardiden of the break-away group that clashed up the final slope.

The Slovenian UAE Team Emirates rider finished two seconds ahead of Dane Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) in second and Ecuador's Richardo Carapaz in third.

He has thus likely secured an unassailable overall lead ahead of Saturday's time trial, he only needs to get safely to the finish in the Champs-Elysées to bask in glory of a two-time winner of the world's biggest road cycling race.

Overall, the 22-year-old is now 5:45 minutes ahead of Vingegaard. Carapaz is third with a lag of six seconds behind the Dane.

With the stage win, Pogačar also secured the lead in the polka-dot race with a 19-point lead ahead of Dutchman Wout Poels (Bahrain Victorious) with only two more points available until the end of the race.

"It's unbelievable [...] after yesterday, today, I don't know what to say - I felt good and I'm really happy with the win [...] it's crazy," Pogačar told the Tour organiser after his amazing feat today.

14 Jul 2021, 18:40 PM

STA, 14 July 2021 - Slovenia's cycling star and yellow jersey wearer Tadej Pogačar won the 17th stage of the Tour de France on Wednesday to increase his overall lead. Pogačar, the defending champion riding for UAE Emirates team, remains the man to beat at this year's race ahead of the final four stages.

Pogačar tackled the punishing Col du Portet climb in the 178.4 km stage with aplomb and made his decisive attack just 100 metres from the line to seal the second Tour de France stage win this year and secure precious seconds as the race leader.

Facing the final four stages, he is five minutes and 39 seconds ahead of the second-placed Jonas Vingegaard from Denmark (Team Jumbo-Visma). In third place is Ecuador's Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

"A fantastic day. To win in a yellow jersey is something I cannot describe," the 22-year-old Pogačar told the organisers.

What now awaits Pogačar and other riders looking to beat him is the final mountain test on Thursday, less hilly terrain on Friday, the 31km time trial on Saturday and the final stage on Sunday.

13 Jul 2021, 16:04 PM

STA, 13 July 2021 - Primož Roglič, who had to quit the Tour of France early due to injuries, will compete for Slovenia at the Tokyo Olympic Games both in the road race and the individual time trial, according to the newspaper Delo.

"I'm happy to confirm that Primož will appear in both races," Slovenia's men's cycling team head coach Andrej Hauptman said as quoted by Delo on Tuesday.

"He is not yet in top shape, but he will do everything in his power to be in top form in Tokyo," said Hauptman in France, where he serves as sports director for UAE Team Emirates, the team of Tadej Pogačar, the Slovenian who has been successfully defending the overall leader's yellow jersey at the Tour.

The men's road race in Tokyo is scheduled for the second day of the Games, 24 July, and the men's individual time trial will be held on 28 July.

Along with Roglič, Slovenia's men's cycling team will also feature Pogačar, Jan Polanc and Jan Tratnik. Had his injuries prevented him from appearing, Roglič would be replaced by Luka Mezgec.

"If we have the world's No. 1 and No. 2, we cannot head for the Olympics merely to take part. We will do all in our power to achieve excellent results. I cannot say we won't aim for the top," Hauptman told Delo.

However, he also said that "there are only three medals and the candidates are countless".

06 Jul 2021, 14:58 PM

STA, 6 July 2021 - Slovenia will host the third Half Ironman race on 19 September, the Ironman 70.3 Slovenian Istria. The organisers expect about 1,200 competitors from 50 countries. The race was called off last year due to coronavirus, this year they expect to go ahead with a number of measures to protect the health of the racers.

Race director Milan Eržen told the press on Tuesday that it remained unclear what kind of restrictions will have to be observed in two months. "We'll do everything to provide maximum safety for the competitors and all those involved."

The race features a 1,900-metre swim leg, followed by a 90-kilometre loop by bicycle around Istria and a 21.3-kilometre run, mostly along the coast.

Jure Leben, the head of the Slovenian Triathlon Association, said the organisers were keen on making this a top-level event that will also serve as an inspiration for recreational triathletes in Slovenia.

You can learn more and register here

04 Jul 2021, 21:04 PM

STA, 4 July 2021 - The Slovenian national basketball team will compete in the Tokyo Olympics after NBA star Luka Dončič led the team to a 96:85 win against Lithuania in the final of a qualifying tournament on Sunday.

Dončič scored a triple double with 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. Vlatko Čančar added 18 points and Jaka Blažič 16.

Slovenia heads to Tokyo with a 4:0 record in the qualifying tournament, having defeated Angola, Poland, Venezuela and now Lithuania, a European basketball titan.

Indeed, this will be the first time after 1992 that Lithuania does not compete in the Olympic games.

In Tokyo Slovenia will play in group C alongside Spain, Argentina and Japan. The first game, against Argentina, is scheduled for 29 July.

04 Jul 2021, 14:00 PM

STA, 4 July 2021 - Slovenia's Janja Garnbret continues to excel at this year's climbing World Cup, having won her fourth event this season in Villars, Switzerland on Saturday, which raises hope for the Tokyo Olympics, where she will be the country's main contender for gold.

"My first impression after the event are great. I can't remember the last time I climbed all four routes at an event. I think it was a truly perfect weekend. I enjoyed myself, and felt good," said Garnbret, adding she was happy with her performance, including her speed.

"I broke my personal speed record, going under eight seconds for the first time, and got yet another confirmation in the difficulty level, which is a great sign for Tokyo," she said.

Out of the eight finalists in Villars, four were Slovenian. Vita Lukan was fifth, and Lučka Rakovec and Mia Krampl sevenths and eight, respectively.

Italian Laura Rogora was second and Natalia Grossman from the US was third.

Garnbret will not compete in the next two World Cup events in Chamonix and Briancon, France, to prepare for the Olympics. "I look forward to just being home the last three weeks before the Olympics, training, working on the details, so I'm looking forward to leaving for Tokyo and competing at the Olympics," said Slovenia's best climber.

04 Jul 2021, 13:19 PM

STA, 4 July 2021 - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič has decided to leave Tour de France early due to injuries he sustained in early stages of the race, his Dutch team Jumbo-Visma said on its website.

The 31-year-old Roglič, last year's Tour de France runner-up and the winner of Tour of Spain, suffered two falls in stages one and three of the Tour.

He continued to race despite the injuries and pain, but after finishing 35 minutes behind the winner on Saturday, the leadership of his team decided he would not continue. The race was won by Slovenian rider Tadej Pogačar, who has taken the overall lead at the race.

"We have made the decision on the departure together. In these circumstance, it would be pointless to continue," Roglič said. "My priority now is to recover and focus on new goals. I'm very disappointed that I have to leave the caravan at the Tour but I remain an optimist and focussed on the future."

If Roglič recovers in time, he could still compete at the Tokyo Olympics. He is to compete there at a road race on 24 July and at a time trial four days later.

Despite a two-month absence from racing, Roglič came to the Tour as one of the top contenders for victory next to Pogačar, but his hopes were crushed by the two falls early in the race.

The first fall was caused by a woman holding a sign out in front of the cyclists, resulting in a massive pile-up. Roglič injured his shoulder in the fall.

In stage three, he fell in the finish of a quick race in narrow streets, injuring his behind, which made it difficult for him to sit on the bicycle.

In stage five, Roglič did well in the time trial, finishing seventh, 44 seconds behind Pogačar, but in the challenging stages seven and eight he fell behind, losing all hope for an overall victory.

The race will continue today with stage nine from Cluses to Tignes.

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