Chaves and Hamilton back in action at the Tour of Slovenia

Sun 16 Jun 2019

Mitchelton-SCOTT return to the Tour of Slovenia with a mix of youth and experience ready to tackle five days of racing in Eastern Europe.

Local man Luka Mezgec will be back on home roads fresh off the back of the Criterium du Dauphine, while recent Giro d’Italia stage winner Esteban Chaves will also line-up for the start in Ljubljana.

After impressing in his first Grand Tour ride last month, Lucas Hamilton will be back in action, as will Italian Edoardo Affini, buoyed by his first professional win at the Tour of Norway two weeks ago.

Edoardo Affini (ITA, 22)
Esteban Chaves (COL, 29)
Lucas Hamilton (AUS, 23)
Cameron Meyer (AUS, 31)
Luka Mezgec (SLO, 30)
Dion Smith (NZL, 26)
Callum Scotson (AUS, 22)

The Course

The race begins with a rolling road stage featuring two categorised climbs along the way, but the day should be one for the fast men in the bunch. It’s a similar affair on stage two, but with a category-two climb coming inside the final 30-kilometres, the general classification hopefuls could be called into action.

The only stretch of flat road on the third day comes in the drag to the line with four categorised climbs spread throughout the day, the last of which is a tough category-two ascent. The penultimate stage will be a showdown amongst the overall favourites with the category-one climb to Predmeja likely to decide the race winner before the sprinters return for the flatter final stage.

The Past

The Tour of Slovenia has been happy hunting ground for Mitchelton-SCOTT with the team picking up five stage wins in total since 2012. The first of those victories came courtesy of South African Daryl Impey on the second stage back in the team’s debut season.

Former rider Svein Tuft then started the 2013 edition by winning the prologue, while Michael Matthews also enjoyed success on the time trial bike with a TT win the following year.

The team’s best result on the general classification came in 2016 when Australian Jack Haig finished as runner-up, with Jens Keukeleire making it a successful tour by winning stage one. The squad’s last victory at the race came when Mezgec won the bunch sprint on home soil back in 2017.

Lucas Hamilton:
“Since the Giro I’ve just been trying to recover and do some smaller rides to keep the legs ticking over to try and maintain the form.”

“Slovenia might be a smaller race but the quality is still there and I think there will be a lot of guys coming out of the Giro with a lot of form, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to ride for the GC.”

“I think we’ve got a really strong team with a local guy in Luka who can go for some stages and we have an all-round strong team with Esteban there too, so we have some options for sure.”

Gene Bates (Sports Director):
“It’s a great race for the team but also for Luka, it’s the only race we do in Slovenia all year and he’s obviously very motivated for it and that’s good for the team as well.”

“There’s no time trial this year and what you would call a ‘Queen stage’, no hilltop finishes either, so there’s just five selective stages, obviously some will be more selective than others. I think there will be a good mix of reduced bunch finishes and selective finishes to setup the overall.”

“It will be interesting to see how Lucas has recovered after the Giro, obviously that was a big effort for him, especially in that final week and we also have Esteban who has come out of the Giro very well, so I think we’ve got some cards to play in the more selective stages and it’s good to have options.”

Tour of Slovenia 2019 Race Details:
Wed, 19th June: Stage 1, Ljubljana - Rogaška Slatina, 168.5km
Thu, 20th June: Stage 2, Maribor - Celje, 146.3km
Fri, 21st June: Stage 3, Žalec - Idrija, 169.8km
Sat, 22nd June: Stage 4, Nova Gorica - Ajdovščina, 153.9km
Sun, 23rd June: Stage 5, Trebnje - Novo mesto, 156.6km

Photos courtesy of Getty Images.