The team’s top sprinter Dylan Groenewegen won the first two stages with powerful finishing speed. Climber Jesús David Peña won Stage 4, a mountainous day that was considered the queen stage. And the team’s general classification leader Filippo Zana took home the overall win.
Riding his Giant Propel Advanced SL team bike with a CADEX 65 WheelSystem, Groenewegen kicked things off on Stage 1. A combination of strong team tactics and a powerful kick at the end made the difference. Groenewegen's teammates worked to catch a four-man break with 20km to go, and the Dutchman took it from there.
“The team spent the whole day working to catch the break and bring me into position,” Groenewegen said. “Luka [Mezgec] did an amazing lead-out, he’s really motivated. He did a training camp and is in good shape and today he did a textbook lead-out.”
Groenwegen kept it rolling on Stage 2, winning again to keep the overall lead. “It was a hard sprint, a little bit uphill,” said Groenewegen after that victory. “It’s good preparation before the Tour, and we won again, so thanks again the whole team.”
The race entered the mountains on Stage 4, a hectic day with several first-category climbs. Peña had to come back from a crash early on, but the young Colombian was able to recover and launch an attack on the final 10km climb in Kobarid.
Peña’s teammate Zana also crashed on Stage 4, while he was in the lead. Peña was able to continue past Zana and go solo off the front. Zana, a recent stage winner at the Giro d’Italia, came back to finish second and take the overall lead. The two scored the one-two finish riding their CADEX 50 Ultra WheelSystems.
“I’m really, really happy for this first victory in Europe,” Peña said. “I had good legs, and the team gave me the opportunity. When I saw Filippo had crashed I thought I had to stop for him, but the [team director] told me he was OK, and to try to go for the stage win. It’s an important first win for me and nice Zana was also second.”
For the final stage, a 143km race from Vrhnika to Nove Mesto, the team fought hard to defend Zana’s lead, and the Italian put in a gutsy ride to seal the win. Matej Mohoric of the Bahrain Victorious team made Zana work for it, attacking inside the final 10km and forcing the chase. Zana stayed with the Slovenian, finishing second with the same finishing time.
“It was very hot and the final climb was very hard,” Zana said. “Mohoric attacked, and I tried to follow but it was very difficult. He won the stage and me the GC, it was perfect. Thanks to my teammates, it was a fantastic five days and we worked well every day together.”