When the race rolls out of Lendava on Wednesday for the 159km opening stage, Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) will be on hand to defend his 2017 title, along with fellow GC contenders Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo), the 2015 champion and recent winner of the Tour de Romandie, and 2017 Tour de France runner-up Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First-Drapac), who will be making his first appearance in Slovenia.
Mark Cavendish (Dimension Data) and Marcel Kittell (Katusha-Alpecin) headline the riders vying for the early sprint finishes and the green jersey.
“I expect a good race, just like last year,” Majka said in a release from the race organisers. “We came to Slovenia from a training camp in Sierra Nevada.
“We have a strong team here, so do others, which is good for a race,” Majka said. “I think it’s a good thing that organizers added an additional day. This means one more day of racing and one day less of training.”
The race begins with the 159km trek that starts in Lendava and finishes in Murska Sobota after a short venture into Hungary. The flat profile includes three intermediate sprints and no KOMs, which will have the fast men off to an early start. A similar profile on stage 2, with just one category 3 climb 50km from the finish, looks like another day for the sprinters.
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