By Jonny Long
Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) won his second Tour of Slovenia title eight years after he first won the race, holding off Giovanni Visconti (Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia) on the final stage to take the victory by 22 seconds.
Giacomo Nizzolo (Dimension Data) won from a reduced bunch on the final stage five, with Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) in second and unable to follow up his victory on stage two, as Bora-Hansgrohe's Shane Archbold finished third.
Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo) finished third overall, 25 seconds down, while Tour of California winner Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) was fourth in his home race, 30 seconds back.
The five-day stage race was typified by climbs loaded towards the end of each day's racing that usually culminated in reduced bunch sprints. However, Pascal Ackermann (Bora-Hansgrohe) was victorous on stage one with Nizzolo second in the bunch sprint, the German taking the first leader's jersey and following on from his excellent Giro d'Italia performance where he took two stage wins and the points classification.
Luka Mezgec (Mitchelton-Scott) won the sprint on stage two after a second category climb placed at the end of the stage shedded the purer fastmen such as Ackermann and Nizzolo. Giovanni Visconti (Nerio Sottoli-Selle Italia) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates) also finished in the top five as they showed their intent in the general classification.
Stage three provided another category two climb at the end of the race, with the following descent running straight to the finish line. Ulissi finished twelve seconds ahead of Aleksandr Vlasov (Gazprom-RusVelo), with Giovanni Visconti in third, a further five seconds behind.
Ulissi had a 19-second lead over Vlasov in the GC heading into the final two stages, with stage four featuring another parcours that placed a climb close to the end of the day with a hurried descent into the finish.
Once again, it was the main contenders competing for the stage win, with Visconti pipping Ulissi, Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Vlasov on the line to take the stage win. This saw Visconti move up to second in the overall classification, 22 seconds behind Ulissi, with Vlasov and Pogačar in third and fourth and only 30 seconds down.
Ulissi and Visconti both finished in the front group on stage five, although in the last five kilometres it looked like Ulissi was trying to set up the stage win either for himself or a team-mate. Ulissi rolled over the line on Visconti's wheel, though, confirming their first and second places in the overall classification.
Tour of Slovenia 2019 final general classification
1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) UAE Team Emirates, in 19-41-23
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Neri Sottoli-Selle Italia, at 22 seconds
3. Aleksandr Vlasov (Rus) Gazprom-RusVelo, at 25s
4. Tadej Pogačar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 30s
5. Andrea Vendrame (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 1-04
6. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott, at 1-08
7. Fausto Masnada (Ita) Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, at 1-21
8. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Cycling Academy, at 2-21
9. Jan Polanc (Slo) UAE Team Emirates, at 3-17
10. Lorenzo Rota (Ita) Bardiani-CSF, at 4-49
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
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