Slovenia shines yellow or: Slovenian cycling fever explained

Published: 24.9.2020

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Slovenia shines yellow or: Slovenian cycling fever explained

All we need to say is: two Slovenians at the Tour de France and the yellow jersey. The rest is history.

Slovenia shines yellow or: Slovenian cycling fever explained

No doubt about it. The sporting heart of Slovenia, these days, is beating purely in yellow. In the past weekend, the cycling fever swept Slovenia and painted it yellow. The villages of the crowned cyclists, champion and vice-champion of the Tour de France Tadej Pogačar and Primož Roglič, were the most glowing.

Pogačar and Roglič entered the World cycling history with the most dramatic fight for the yellow jersey of all time. In Gorenjska, all the locals from the village of Komenda were dressed in yellow. They even painted the roundabout yellow, in order to celebrate the victory of the "cannibal from Klanec" or "the new Eddy Merckx, as sports journalists nicknamed Tadej Pogačar. On the other side of Slovenia, in Kisovec, located in the hilly Zagorje region by the Sava River, exceptional Primož Roglič lives. Here, the locals dressed in yellow and painted the silhouette of their hero on everything they could find.

The I Feel Slovenia brand also proudly turned yellow to celebrate the top result of both world-class champions.

Primož Roglič and the village of Kisovec on the day of the Cronometer

At the finals of this year's Tour de France, in the hometown of Primož Roglič, where the longest Slovenian river, Sava, meanders through the green hills, the euphoria was accompanied by mixed feelings. However, a great joy followed. Everyone was incredibly proud. Roglič's friends and fellow villagers dressed their hometown in yellow. They painted the bales of hay on a nearby meadow and the bridge leading to the village of Strahovlje near Kisovec. Moreover, the yellow-painted scarp at the entrance to Zagorje was decorated with the silhouettes of the Primož´s winning face. In support of the cycling race, Slovenian flags hung from a giant bicycle along the road. As many as 80 yellow flags fluttered in the Zagorje valley. The garden of the bar has been transformed into a cheerleading hub showing the live broadcast of the race. They stretched the inscription with the image of the captain of the Jumbo Visma team over the bar fence and displayed Slovenian flags. The fan anthem S tabo je vsa Slovenia (Slovenia stands by you) echoed all around. The anthem was composed a year ago, after Roglič's victory at the Spanish Vuelta, by Zagorje musician Dejan Žujič. This weekend everything was set for the final triumph. There was no fear of foreign competition, perhaps just a tiny threat of a rivalry between the people of Gorenjska and Zasavje. Unfortunately, the penultimate stage of the Tour did not unfold as expected by Primož Roglič's fans. Despite the initial disappointment immediately after Roglič arrived at the finish line, they quickly gathered their thoughts and said that in their view, he remains the winner. He is the first Slovene to wear a yellow T-shirt; what a historic moment for Slovenian cycling! Upon his return home, Primož will be honoured accordingly. Kisovec will greet him in yellow. 

Tadej Pogačar and the village of Komenda on the day of the Cronometer

Komenda, too, is flashing yellow these days, though the locals decorated the place almost overnight. Triumph of Tadej Pogačar took them by surprise as everyone expected that Primož Roglič to win. Thus, the local volunteer firefighters painted the central roundabout of the city yellow in a single night. In the middle of the roundabout, they placed another - yellow - bike next to the white one. All this was prepared in honour of the new yellow jersey holder and Tour de France winner, Tadej Pogačar. In addition to yellow, these days you can find dotted and white colour all around Komenda – in the style of T-shirts that Pogačar won on the Tour. The celebration took place around the Komenda sports hall, where a TV screen was set up in the parking lot. A brass band accompanied Sunday's parade of champions. Many came to cheer on their bikes, wearing yellow T-shirts. One of the fans caught everyone’s attention by arriving on the back of a horse.

At the end of the race, the historic victory called for a big celebration. As the locals cracked opened bottles of sparkling wine, Slovenian songs and fan drums filled the air in which the Slovenian flags fluttered proudly. Some of the most loyal fans of Primož Roglič from Kisovec arrived to Komenda on the last day of the race. They hung the flag of Roglič and, together with the locals, rejoiced in the great success of Tadej Pogačar. Together they celebrated the double Slovenian victory.

Yellow was also Ljubljana and the presidential palace

The Tour de France 2020 caused a real cycling euphoria in Slovenia. Not only Kisovec and Komenda; the whole Slovenia turned yellow. Thousands of Slovenes wore yellow T-shirts. After the final stage on Saturday, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor, hung a yellow flag at the Presidential Palace in Ljubljana. The capital of Ljubljana also paid tribute to the best cyclists in the world by painting the Ljubljana Castle in the colour of this incredible victory.

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