Diego Ulissi wins the race, Guardini claims stage victory

Italy’s Andrea Guardini is the winner of the last stage of the 18th Tour de Slovénie, the yellow jersey for leadership in the overall general classification went to his compatriot Diego Ulissi.

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Statements after the race:

Andrea Guardini (Farnese), winner of the 4th stage, said: ''I’m overjoyed. This was a very demanding stage and winning here means a lot to me, because this is my first year among professionals. I’m happy that I have done this well in the finish sprint, achieved a fantastic time and won,'' stated the Italian after the 10th stage win in this season.

Kristjan Koren (Liquigas-Cannondale) has won the blue jersey: ''I’m happy with the race because it showed that our preparations were successful. We gradually improved our condition. I demonstrated this already during the first day, at the prologue in Ljubljana, then by placing fourth in Nova Gorica, sixth at Golte, and today we have successfully brought the yellow jersey to the finish line, only inches away from a team victory. My wishes have come true. I now have a few matters to take care of in Milan, training in team racing, the national championship next weekend, and then the Tour. Ivan Basso will be our main ace in the Tour de France. The entire team will work to support him. Whatever happens, we’ll have to be there. I believe we will be competing in excellent shape.''

Finish – Novo mesto (181 km) Andrea Guardini (Farnese) claimed victory at the last stage of the 18th Tour de Slovénie, Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Butan plin) was the runner-up, and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre) came third. Italy’s Diego Ulissi of Lampre-ISD is this year’s winner in overall standings.

4 km to go - The gap to the breakaway riders has been bridged.

Final lap - The two breakaway riders are doing their best, but the peloton will catch up to them. The winner of the fourth stage will be decided by the sprint.

8 km to go - The breakaway riders have an advantage of 30 seconds.

10 km to go - The two breakaway riders have increased their lead to 45 seconds.

16 km to go - The peloton has all but caught up to the two breakaway riders (Marcel Wyss has fallen behind) that maintain a 25-second lead.

23 km to go - The difference between the breakaway group and the peloton is 52 seconds.

Intermediate sprint – Novo mesto (157 km) Marcel Wyss (Geox) - 5 points Sander Armee (Topsport) - 3 points Andrej Omulec (Loborika) - 1 point

30 km to go - Last year’s winner, Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Butan plin), has resigned from the race.

32 km to go – The breakaway riders are in their second lap in Novo mesto and have a lead of about one minute. I the next lap, we will see them vying for the intermediate sprint points.

141 km - The riders have entered Novo mesto for the first time. The three breakaway riders are still ahead, with their lead varying between 40 seconds and over one minute. The main pack will likely catch up to them.

124 km - The breakaway riders’ lead over the main pack is down to just one minute. Three hours into the race, the riders’ average speed is 40,8 km/h.

Intermediate sprint – Šentjernej (124 km) Andrej Omulec (Loborika) - 5 points Marcel Wyss (Geox) - 3 points Sander Armee (Topsport) - 1 point

116 km - The breakaway riders’ lead is now 2:50. The virtual yellow jersey is now owned by Diego Ulissi (Ita) of Lampre-ISD, who holds a lead of 3:12 over Marcel Wyss (Geox), one of the breakaway riders.

113 km - Gašper Švab (Sava Kranj) is out of the race. The three breakaway riders are 3:27 ahead of the main pack and are nearing the intermediate sprint in Šentjernej.

103 km - The breakaway riders are 3:15 ahead of the peloton.

Mountain finish, 3rd category – Studenec (102,5 km) Sander Armee (Topsport) - 3 points Andrej Omulec (Loborika) - 2 points Marcel Wyss (Geox) - 1 point

96 km - The breakaway riders’ lead is rapidly decreasing and has now dropped to just 2:40.

93 km - Daniel Petrov (Konya Torku) is out of the race. He has joined Stefan Zanichelli (Konya Torku), who has been riding in the Broom Wagon for some time (a van that picks up stragglers).

93 km - The breakaway riders are 3:08 ahead of the peloton.

85 km - It has stopped raining.

82 km - The main pack keep shortening the gap, which is now 3:50.

76 km - The gap between the breakaway riders and the peloton is now 4:17.

13.35 - The one to profit most from the withdrawal of Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini-Neri Sottoli) is Slovenia's Kristjan Koren (Liquigas-Cannondale). The Primorska local from Budanje will advance to 6th place overall if the stage unfolds according to expectations. Tenth place overall appears to be a real possibility for Bulgarian Vladimir Koev, who is competing for the Turkish team Konya Torku Seker Spor-Vivelo. Also, Visconti was Koren’s biggest rival for the blue jersey (leader in the points classification) besides Robert Vrečer (Perutnina Ptuj).

Mountain finish, 3rd category – Poklek (74,7 km) Sander Armee (Topsport) - 3 points Andrej Omulec (Loborika) - 2 points Marcel Wyss (Geox) - 1 point

71 km - A Radenska and a Perutnina Ptuj rider have crashed; the breakaway group has stretched out their advantage to 4:20 and is now approaching the Poklek 3rd category mountain finish.

65 km - The yellow jersey wearer, Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD, has suffered a bike failure, but he has already rejoined the main pack, which is almost five minutes behind the breakaway group.

13.08 - The third among the breakaway riders is Andrej Omulec: he is the only one among them that has already worn the yellow jersey in a Tour de Slovénie. In the 3rd stage from Ljubljana to Zagreb in 2004, he took third and the leader’s yellow jersey. A day later, he had to relinquish the jersey to Borut Božič. The 28-year-old member of Croatia’s Loborika-Favorit has been competing for Slovenian Continental teams from 2005 to the end of 2010. In 2005, he raced for the Radenska-Rog team. In the next three seasons, he rode for Perutnina Ptuj, and for Obrazi-Delo Revije in the previous season. This year, he is competing under the guidance of Slovenian Srečko Glivar, Loborika’s directeur sportif.

60 km - The breakaway riders have a lead of 4:45 over the peloton.

Intermediate sprint – Podčetrtek (52,4 km) Andrej Omulec (Loborika) - 5 points Sander Armee (Topsport) - 3 points Marcel Wyss (Geox) - 1 point

12.51 - Who is Marcel Wyss, the current race leader in virtual standings? The Swiss rider turns 25 next Saturday. He is the most successful rider among the breakaway group. He began his professional career on 1 August 2008 riding as a trainee for the Spanish ProTour team Scott-American Beef until the end of the season. He did not convince the team’s management, but he did manage to get a contract for the two seasons of the Cervelo Test Team (2009 and 2010). In this season, he is competing for the Professional Continental Spanish team Geox-TMC. Last year, Wyss came 8th in the Tour de Romandie, where Slovenia’s Simon Špilak (Lampre-Farnese Vini) claimed victory. Wyss finished 38th in last year’s Giro d’Italia. This year, he improved his final ranking by 4 places, taking 34th overall.

45 km - The riders’ average speed is 43 km/h; Stefano Zanichelli (Konya Torku) has withdrawn from the race.

43 km - One hour into the stage, the three breakaway riders hold a lead of 4:50, while the peloton’s tempo is dictated by Team Lampre. Pieter Serry (Topsport) has crashed.

36 km - The breakaway group is 4:15 ahead of the main pack.

12.30 - Sander Armee is among the breakaway riders: the 25-year-old Belgian has been a member of Topsport Vlaanderen-Mercator since 2010. He has appeared at the Amstel Gold Race, Walloon Arrow, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege classic one-day races both last year and this year. He has not claimed any victories in his two-year professional career.

32 km - The three hold a lead of 3:49. Giovanni Visconti (Farnese) is out of the race.

26 km - The breakaway group is 3:40 ahead, which means that Marcel Wyss (Geox) has taken over the virtual overall lead in the race.

22 km - The breakaway riders are 3 minutes ahead.

20 km - The three have stretched out their lead to 1:52.

14 km - Three riders have managed to escape from the peloton. Marcel Wyss (Geox), Sander Armee (Topsport), and Andrej Omulec (Loborika) have built up a lead of 50 seconds.

12.00 - Slovenian Grega Bole (Lampre-ISD) told Sportal before the stage start that Team Lampre-ISD will be defending the yellow jersey wearer, Diego Ulissi, by allowing a small group of riders to break away early on. They will prevent Andrej Rajšp (Radenska), Radoslav Rogina (Loborika), and Henry Frusto (D'Angelo & Antenucci-Nippo) from being part of that breakaway group, because they want to win the polka dot jersey for leader in the mountains classification. ''This will be easiest to achieve by allowing riders without any mountain finish points to break away,'' added Bole. Ulissi and Bole are placed first and second, and both hold 12 points.

10 km - The peloton remains in a close-knit formation; the tempo is dictated by Team Lampre. There have been several technical problems during the initial kilometres. Two interventions were needed for Team Cofidis and one for Team Perutnina Ptuj.

6 km - The gap to the breakaway group has been bridged and the rain has intensified. The ambient temperature is only 14 degrees Celsius.

4 km Mitja Mahorič (Adria Mobil), Andre Steensen (Saxo Bank), Pieter Jacobs (Topsport), and Jure Zrimšek (Sava Kranj) have established a lead of about 100 metres over the main pack.

11.45 - Grega Bole (Lampre-ISD) will be wearing the polka dot jersey (leader in the mountains classification). The white jersey (leader in the young rider classification) will be worn by Poland’s Rafal Majka (Saxo Bank-SunGard).

3 km - There have been several breakaway attempts from kilometre one. Julien (Cofidis) did not start.

Start – Ptuj (181 km)

11.35 - There has been some rain before the 4th stage, but it stopped before the start. The riders will have to be careful on the wet roads.

11.30 - The close-formation race has started. The Lampre team members have a lot of work on their hands as they will need to provide extra support for Diego Ulissi in order for him to be named winner of the 18th Tour de Slovénie at the stage finish.

11.25 - The final stage of the 18th Tour de Slovénie starts with a close-formation race in Ptuj, at Potrčeva cesta road. The riders will race 185,1 km to the finish in Novo mesto.

11.10 - In the yellow jersey (overall general classification leader) we see Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD).

11.10 - Competing in the yellow jersey (leader in overall general classification), we see Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre-ISD).

11.10 - The stage starts at 11.30 in Ptuj with a 4.1 kilometre close-formation race along the streets of Ptuj.

11.10 – Greetings, fans of cycling! The 4th stage of the Tour de Slovénie is scheduled for today and will have the riders battling with a 181-kilometre stage race from Ptuj to Novo mesto.

It is already known that Italian Diego Ulissi (Lampre) has conquered the Slovenian roads after sweeping away his competitors in the climb to Golte.

The final stage from Ptuj to Novo mesto will favour sprinters and will provide opportunity for the Slovenian cyclists to seek their fortune. Our website will cover the race live. You can see the race events as they unfold during the race using the application that shows the riders’ movement on the map, including their current and average speed.

Overall standings:

1. Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD 2. Radoslav Rogina (Cro) Loborika 3. Robert Vrečer (Slo) Perutnina Ptuj ... Official results

4th stage results, Ptuj – Novo mesto (181 km):

1. Andrea Guardini (Farnese) 2. Jacopo Guarnieri (Liquigas-Butan plin) 3. Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre)

Overall winners after the end of the 18th Tour de Slovénie:

Yellow (leader in the overall general classification) – Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD Polka dot (leader in the mountains classification) – Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD Blue (leader in the points classification) – Kristjan Koren (Slo) Liquigas-Cannondale White (leader in the young rider classification) – Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre-ISD Best team – Loborika (Cro)

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