Stage 2 began in Maribor and took the riders to Celje. 146 km of rolling terrain drew a profile that was even harder than in stage 1. Once again, a breakaway was launched, but Tadej’s UAE Emirates group made sure to neutralise it until the last climb to Svetina. Tadej began the climb in the front and the pace was relentless despite the heat and humidity. After only 2 kilometres, a group of seven cyclists including Tadej and his teammate Diego Ulissi took the lead. Ulissi then attacked twice to raise the pace even harder and Tadej was unable to follow.
A group of five reached the summit 20 seconds before Tadej. Esteban Chaves fell twice during the descent, but was still able to rejoin the leaders. Tadej was caught by a group including Jan Polanc and Luka Mezgec and they advanced together to the finish line. Grega Bole connected with the group on the approach to Celje. The leading group miscalculated the tactics for the last kilometre and was caught by Tadej’s group. Mezgec was helped by Chaves to conclude the stage with a well-deserved win. Grega Bole was second and Tadej crossed the finish line in the ninth place.
Tadej Pogačar reports: “The day was exhausting and very hot. The pace in the last climb was relentless and I went too far into the red. Fortunately, Ulissi was in the front so our team was able to keep everything under control. Tomorrow is a new day and nothing has been decided yet.”