Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka and the rest of the peloton were in for a wet and difficult day on stage 2 of Tour de Slovénie. Strong winds and heavy rain accompanied the riders on the last part of the stage, which caused several crashes on the final kilometers. Mark Renshaw did well to secure third place in the slippery final.
Early on the stage, seven riders quickly established a gap on the peloton. However, the pack was determined to not let the break spoil what looked like another good chance for the sprinters. The gap never exceeded 4:30 minutes and despite two short but steep climbs, it all came back together as expected. Unfortunately, the riders had to endure some severe weather conditions towards the end. Heavy rain turned the roads extremely slippery and multiple riders saw their chances of success disappear in crashes on the final kilometer. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s Kristian Sbaragli was one of the riders who went down but luckily, the fast Italian didn’t suffer any serious injuries.
Mark Cavendish, too, was struck by misfortune in the final as he got caught up behind one of the crashes. Therefore, it ended up being Renshaw who got in the mix to fight for glory. Ultimately, the 34-year-old Australian did very well to hang on to third place on the wet roads as Luka Mezgec (Orica-Scott) sprinted to victory. Ryan Gibbons made sure Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka finished with two riders in Top10 as he crossed the line in 10th place. Mezgec is the new overall leader of Tour de Slovénie.
“Once we entered the finish circuit, it got really chaotic with riders crashing in almost every corner due to the slippery roads. Our original plan was to sprint for Cavendish but with about one kilometer to go, Eisel told me on the radio to try and go for it myself instead. Unfortunately, when Mezgec jumped with 500 meters to go, I just couldn’t get in the wheel of him. I had already done quite a bit earlier in the race, chasing back to the peloton with Cavendish after the climbs. However, all in all, I’m happy to still finish third. The win would have been much preferred but since this is my first proper race back after my injury, I’m happy to be strong enough to make podium”.