Weeks of altitude training played dividends for Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) as he rode to victory on the Queen stage of the Tour of Slovenia. The Polish champion had the bettering of Bahrain-Merida's Giovanni Visconti to move himself into the race lead with just one sprint stage to come.
Majka tried several times to get away on the final climb, first attacking with just under nine kilometres to go. He was initially joined by Jack Haig (Orica-Scott) before Visconti bridged the gap. Majka tried again and again, but he was consistently shadowed by Haig, while Visconti was able to chase back on each time.
In the end, Majka had to rely on his sprint, overtaking Visconti who had gone with 500 metres to go. The three-second gap to the Italian plus a few bonus seconds gives Majka a seven-second lead in the overall classification going into the final day of racing. After his win, Majka said that he was ready to take on the Tour de France
"First I have to say thanks to my teammates. They did an excellent job, also the past two days," said Majka. "I attacked early because I didn't know the climb and didn't want to take any risk. Nobody wanted to cooperate, so I tried it several times. In the end, I took the win, and that is important. I am very happy, not just for this win, also because this was a good test after three weeks training in the Sierra Nevada. I think I am ready now for the Tour."
The Tour of Slovenia is Majka's final race before the Tour de France next month after last competing at the Tour of California in May, where he finished second overall. Majka has twice won the mountains classification at the Tour, but his best finish in the GC is 28th. He has taken three top-10 finishes at the Giro d'Italia and claimed his first Grand Tour podium at the 2015 Vuelta a Espana.
Majka's Tour of Slovenia victory began a good day for the Bora-Hansgrohe squad, who also took to the top step when Peter Sagan won stage 8 of the Tour de Suisse.