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Viviani gets his revenge after a disappointing Giro d’Italia by beating Matthews in the final bunch sprint of the Tour de Slovenie; Machado wins the race overall

Photo: Sirotti

BORA-HANSGROHE

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BORUT BOZIC

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ELIA VIVIANI

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MATTEO RABOTTINI

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MICHAEL MATTHEWS

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TIAGO MACHADO

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TOUR DE SLOVENIE

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22.06.2014 @ 18:45 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Elia Viviani (Cannondale) found back to his winning ways after a very disappointing Giro d’Italia when he won today’s final stage of the Tour de Slovenie in a bunch sprint. The Italian relegated Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Borut Bozic (Slovenia) to the minor places while Tiago Machado (NetApp-Endura) finished within the bunch to secure the overall victory in the four-day race.

 

Going into the Giro d’Italia, Elia Viviani was the in-form sprinter who had just beaten Mark Cavendish twice in the Tour of Turkey and expectations for the Cannondale rider were high. However, the Italian grand tour was a race to forget for the home rider who was never even close to victory during the three weeks.

 

This week he has made his return to racing in the Tour de Slovenie but with only one possible bunch sprint on offer, it has mostly been about survival for Viviani. Today he finally got the chance to show his speed in the final stage of the race and he put his Giro disappointment behind by taking a much needed victory.

 

Viviani beat one of his Giro rivals Michael Matthews in the bunch sprint in Nove Mesto that predictably brought the four-day national tour to a conclusion. Home rider Borut Bozic who did the race as part of the national team completed the podium.

 

The stage was held on a 153km course between Skofja Loka and Novo Mesto and after two category 3 climbs in the first half, it was a completely flat finish. The stage ended with a few laps of a finishing circuit in the city center, meaning that a bunch sprint was expected.

 

Nonetheless, a lot of riders were keen to go on the attack and it took an awful long time for the break to get established. The riders almost covered 40km before the elastic finally snapped when Pavel Kochetkov (Katusha), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport Vlaanderen), Primoz Roglic (Adria Mobil) and Tadej Logar (Slovenia) took off.

 

KOM leader Klemens Stimulak (Adria Mobil) set off in pursuit and Roglic decided to drop back to help his teammate join the group. On the lower slopes of the first climb, they made the junction and so Stimulak could solidify his lead in the mountains competition by taking maximum points on both climbs.

 

Behind, Orica-GreenEDGE and the NetApp-Endura team of race leader Tiago Machado took control and they kept the gap stable between the 2- and 3-minute marks for most of the day. With 60km to go, they got some assistance from Rusvelo and the gap now started to come down.

 

With 40km to go, Jacobs and Kochetkov left their Slovenian companions behind and managed to reopen their gap to 2 minutes. As they entered the finishing circuit, however, they started to lose ground and with 13km to go, they were brought back.

 

Hence, the stage was to be decided in a bunch sprint and here Viviani did what he failed to do in the Giro: cross the line with his arms in the air after beating his fast rivals.

 

For Machado it was a rather easy stage and so the Portuguese won the race overall, with Ilnur Zakarin (Rusvelo) and Matteo Rabottini (Vini Fantini) taking the minor spots on the podium. Matthews won the points jersey, Stimulak the points jersey, Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) was best young rider and Bardiani won the teams classification.

 

With the Tour de Slovenie now over, many riders will turn their attention to the national championships next weekend which is the final tune-up for the Tour de France for a lot of riders.

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