Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) sprinted to the opening stage victory at the Tour of Slovenia today. Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Giacomo Nizzolo finish in 2nd place with Simone Consonni (UAE-Emirates) in 3rd.
What looked to be the easiest stage of the Tour of Slovenia on paper, turned out to be quite an action packed stage, with the peloton splitting over the undulations in the final 50km.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka had Enrico Gasparotto following the late attacks and he was able to make it into a group of 11 riders that went clear. They were able to gain a minute on the peloton before the gap started coming down again.
Eventually, they were caught with just 7km to go by a main group that contained just 60 riders. Giacomo Nizzolo showed he was one of the strongest sprinters in the race, by making this final selection.
It was a messy sprint finale which saw Nizzolo lose position with around a kilometer to go. The Italian was then forced to start his sprint really early, from around 400m to go. He showed incredible strength to make up numerous places, just running out of road to overhaul Ackermann and placed 2nd on the day.
“It was a relatively quiet stage until the last climb, where we just about caught the early breakaway. From that point we can say the race was on fire. 11 riders were on the attack, we had Gaspa there but the race was full gas to the line with some splits. In the end it was a sprint and I was well placed with 1km to go. A slight mechanical issue then cost me some seconds, so for this reason I was coming from behind. It’s a pity because I could’ve been closer to the victory. I had a good feeling though so hopefully it can be a better result in the next days.” – Giacomo Nizzolo