15 Jun 2024

Pello Bilbao wins Queen's stage in Slovenia

With a mountaintop finish at the ski resort of Krvavec, stage 4 of the Tour of Slovenia was the Queen’s stage of the race. In the end, Pello Bilbao proved to be the strongest climber, accelerating away from his last rivals on the steep last kilometre to cross the finish line as the day’s winner.

The day after Phil Bauhaus had won the sprint of a reduced peloton, the profile of stage 3 of the Tour of Slovenia seemed as if it had been made for Matej Mohoric. But in the finale, the Slovenian master descender could not keep up with the best climbers. So it was up to Pello Bilbao to fly the colours of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS. But just like all the others he was caught on the wrong foot by the late attack of Giovanni Aleotti, finishing the stage in 6th place at 11 seconds of the stage winner. As for the GC Pello Bilbao jumped from 41st to 8th, putting him in a promising position before the Queen’s stage of the Tour of Slovenia.

This Queen’s stage featured an 11-kilometre climb to the ski resort of Krvavec, and the peloton got smaller and smaller as the finish approached. The riders of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS were biding their time before Edoardo Zambanini moved up to the front of the remaining group of GC contenders to further up the pace. Once he ran out of steam, Pello Bilbao hit the front and went faster bit by bit, testing his opponents before the climb hit a flat part. He managed to whittle his opponents down to GC leader Aleotti and Domenico Pozzovivo, with Paul Double making it back to the race leaders on the flatter part. But the steepest part was still to come.

With the average gradient of the final kilometre standing at a whopping 16 per cent it was clear that something had to happen there, but Pello Bilbao still was biding his time and marking his rivals. Only when Pozzovivo started his sprint, Bilbao countered and went clear, putting some bike lengths between him and his opponents on the narrow last bit of road to celebrate a stage victory. This win also moved him up to 2nd place on GC at 12 seconds of leader Aleotti with one stage to go. With Edoardo Zambanini, another rider of Team BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, scored a top 10 result by finishing in 7th.


1. Pello Bilbao, ESP/TEAM BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS, in 3:59.09 hours
2. Paul Double, GBR, + 0.03
3. Giovanni Aleotti, ITA, st

Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency