Who Are the Slovenian Riders Who Set the Tour de France on Fire?

The Tour de France is a significant cycling race that occurs every year in France. This year, two Slovenes were competing and leading. The Tour de France 2020 had to be won by a Slovene cyclist; everyone knew it.

The two leading cyclists were Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic. They were extremely close during the entire race, although Roglic seemed to lead his opponent and close friend by a few seconds. In the end, the 21-year-old Pogacar won the race, becoming the first Slovene ever to win the Tour de France.

The more time went by during the race, the more Slovene flags appeared one the sides of the road, decorating France’s mountains and landscapes. Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Truglic set the Tour de France on fire, keeping us on our toes, wondering who would win. Let’s take a look at who are these two Slovenians that surprised and amazed the Tour de France’s audience and experts this year.

When Was the Tour de France 2020?

This year, the Tour de France was Slovenian. Indeed, there were five Slovenian participants, and two of them finished the race in first and second position.

The Tour de France is a cycling competition held every year in France since 1903. Only the best cyclists compete to finish the race, which travels all over the country. This year, the route was held between August 29th and September 20th. There were 176 participants from 22 teams.

The route was 3,473 kilometers-long (2,158 miles-long) and divided into 21 stages. It left from Nice and arrived in Paris, the capital. Each stage can be won by a different cyclist. To win the race, cyclists have to complete the race as fast as they can.

Here is the list of the stages and the route followed for the Tour de France.

  • Stage 1: 156 Km, Nice Moyen Pays > Nice
  • Stage 2: 186 Km, Nice Haut Pays > Nice
  • Stage 3: 198 Km, Nice > Sisteron
  • Stage 4: 160.5 Km, Sisteron > Orcières-merlette
  • Stage 5: 183 Km, Gap > Privas
  • Stage 6: 191 Km, Le Teil > Mont Aigoual
  • Stage 7: 168 Km, Millau > Lavaur
  • Stage 8: 141 Km, Cazères-sur-garonne > Loudenvielle
  • Stage 9: 153 Km, Pau > Laruns
  • Stage 10: 168.5 Km, Île D’oléron Le Château-d’oléron > Île De Ré Saint-martin-de-ré
  • Stage 11: 166.5 Km, Châtelaillon-plage > Poitiers
  • Stage 12: 218 Km, Chauvigny > Sarran Corrèze
  • Stage 13: 191.5 Km, Châtel-Guyon > Puy Mary Cantal
  • Stage 14: 194 Km, Clermont-ferrand > Lyon
  • Stage 15: 174.5 Km, Lyon > Grand Colombier
  • Stage 16: 164 Km, La Tour-du-Pin > Villard-de-Lans
  • Stage 17: 170 Km, Grenoble > Méribel Col De La Loze
  • Stage 18: 175 Km, Méribel > La Roche-sur-foron
  • Stage 19: 166.5 Km, Bourg-en-bresse > Champagnole
  • Stage 20: 36.2 Km, Lure > La Planche Des Belles Filles
  • Stage 21: 122 Km, Mantes-la-Jolie > Paris Champs-Elysées

This year, because of COVID-19, every participant had to be tested for the virus. The pandemic was a new challenge for the organization of the race. In total, 841 tests were done both on riders and their teams.

The pandemic was also an obstacle for the audience that surrounds the Tour de France route every year to cheer for the cyclists and watch the race. Many people had to stay home this year to avoid catching the virus, and for the tenacious ones, masks were a must!

Nonetheless, it did not prevent our two Slovene competitors from giving everything they had and setting the Tour de France 2020 on fire.

Who Is Tadej Pogacar, the Winner of the Tour de France 2020?

Tadej Pogacar is a 21-year-old Slovene cyclist who participated in the Tour de France 2020 and won! He is the first Slovene ever to win the Tour de France in history. He is also the youngest winner of the competition since World War II and the second-youngest winner after Henri Cornet, in 1904. 

Tadej Pogacar did not only win the Tour de France, but he also won the yellow jersey for the general classification, the polka-dot jersey awarded to the race’s top climber, and the white jersey as the Tour’s best young rider. It was his first time riding the Tour de France. He finished the race in 87 hours, 20 minutes, and five seconds.

Pogacar beat his opponent Primoz Roglic, also Slovene, by two minutes in the individual time trial, right at the end of the race. This incredible victory marked all of us, especially the Slovenes, because of how epic and unexpected it was. In total, he won three stages and was on 23 podiums.

Pogacar is a cyclist of UCI WorldTeam UAE Team Emirates. His contract ends in September 2023. He was already the winner of the Tour of California 2019, Slovenia’s national time trial championship. He also came third at the Vuelta a Espana 2019. His coach is the Road World Championship medallist Andrej Hauptman.

Tadej Pogacar was born on September 21st, 1998, in Komenda, Slovenia. He is also nicknamed Pogi. 

Who Is Primoz Roglic, the Runner-Up of the Tour de France 2020?

Primoz Roglic is the runner-up of the Tour de France 2020 and the Tour de France leader for almost two weeks, since the ninth stage. He finished the race right after his friend and main rival.

What really could have made the difference between the two of them was the 7,560-feet (2,3 kilometers)-high climb of stage 17, the Col de la Loze. The climb was what was going to set them apart, according to experts. However, it was not what created the two minutes of advance in the individual trial of Pogacar.

After five hours of racing, the cyclists only had about two seconds of difference. In the end, it was Roglic who finished that stage first, 15 seconds ahead of his Slovene opponent.

Many thoughts Roglic would win, considering he was almost one minute ahead of Pogacar on Saturday, which makes Tadej Pogacar’s win even more impressive and surprising. Pogacar was able to steal Roglic yellow jersey on the last climb, putting him two minutes behind. Roglic finished that stage only fifth, making it impossible for him to win the Tour de France.

Primoz Roglic is a 30 years old Slovene cyclist. He was born on October 29th, 1989, in Trbovlje, Slovenia, in former Yugoslavia. He is not only a cyclist but also a ski jumper. He has two Continental Cup wins, and his ski jump record is 185 meters (607 feet) in Planica. He stopped his career as a ski jumper in 2012 to begin his cycling career.

Here is a list of his ranks at the main championships and races in cycling:

Grand Tour general classification results
Giro d’Italia583
Tour de France3842
Vuelta a España1
Major stage race general classification results
Volta a Catalunya44NH
Tour of the Basque Country51NH
Tour de Romandie311NH

Were There Other Slovenes Competing?

There were 5 Slovene participants in the Tour de France 2020. Besides Primoz Roglic, number 11, in the Team Jumbo Visma, and Tadej Pogacar, number 131, in the team UAE Emirates, the following Slovenes were racing:

  • Jan Polanc, number 138, in the team UAE Emirates. He finished 40th, after 89h 49′ 59”, which is 02h 29′ 54” more than the winner.
  • Matej Mohoric, number 26, in the team Bahrain – McLaren. He finished 76th, after 91h 09′ 07” of race, which is 03h 49′ 02” more than the winner.
  • Luka Mezgec, number 167, in the team Mitchelton – Scott. He finished 88th, after 91h 37′ 12”, which is 04h 17′ 07” more than the winner.

In the end, Slovenia was a great competitor of the Tour de France this year, with the two winners being Slovene, and with three other cyclists finishing the race. Considering Slovenia has only been an independent country for a few decades, since 1991, maybe we will see more Slovenes taking on the Tour de France’s challenge in the next years.

Slovenia’s Most Unforgettable Tour de France

Slovenia truly destroyed the competition at the Tour de France 2020 with its two best cyclists. Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic finished first and second, Pogacar beating many records at the same time.

It was the first time a Slovene won the Tour de France, so to have to Slovenes on the podium is an immense honor for the country. The winners are acclaimed and even met the French President Emmanuel Macron.

Slovenia is a perfect country for cycling. It is like a national sport here. If you are a fan of cycling and the Tour de France, you should definitely head to this unknown country to discover the many cycling trails where the winners of the Tour de France 2020 had the possibility to train, surrounded by the beautiful nature of Slovenia. We’ll see you there!

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