The cyclists of the BTC City Ljubljana cycling team, the first professional women’s cycling team in Slovenia, to place Slovenian women’s cycling on the world cycling map in their first year of existence, have received the award for special achievements in road cycling. Slovenian Cycling Federation (KZS) has presented this special award at the end of the cycling season for the amazing progress in the development of women’s road cycling in Slovenia, as well as for the outstanding results on the international level and for qualifying for the World Championship team relay race.

This season twelve cyclists of the BTC City Ljubljana cycling team have achieved top results. Eugenia Bujak (Poland), Martina Ritter (Austria), Polona Batagelj, Urša Pintar, Mia Radotic (Croatia), Špela Kern, Anja Rugelj, Alenka Novak, Elena Valentini (Italy), Sara Frece, Tjaša Rutar and Urška Kalan have exceeded their goal from the beginning of the season – to qualify among the first twenty teams in the world rankings.

An outstanding 16th place for the team in the UCI rankings and the 15th place among 31 teams in World Cup are results that were not expected. “The award of the KZS means that the girls have obviously been recognised within and outside the borders of our country, especially knowing that compliments to women’s cycling from men are not something you would encounter on a daily basis. In addition, all the foreign and Slovene cyclists have taken the BTC City Ljubljana project extremely seriously from the very start. The atmosphere within the team and the results at the end of the first season came as a surprise for the majority of the competition. There is no surprise, however, that two of the best foreign cyclists are staying in the team, despite several tempting offers from abroad. Congratulations to all the cyclists and the members of the supporting team, to all the sponsors and especially the main sponsors, the BTC Company and the City Municipality of Ljubljana. I hope we have justified your trust in this bold project”, proudly announced Gorazd Penko, coach and sports director of the BTC City Ljubljana team.

All the supporting members are very proud of the team. “The girls and their professional approach have created a quality brand mark in women’s cycling. The participation of our cyclists has not gone unnoticed, since the team continuously managed to shatter any shadow of a doubt concerning their achievements, which certainly were not expected so quickly. The project had a positive impact not only on women’s but also on Slovene cycling in general. The team’s results, along with impeccable organisation and the participation in the Marathon Franja BTC City, hosting the UWCT Final 2014 on Slovenian soil and the recently awarded organisation of the most prestigious multi-stage women’s race Giro Rosa, have positively rounded up the successful cycling story of 2014”, said Jože Mermal, President of the BTC Management Board.

The development of professional and recreational women’s cycling in Slovenia and abroad resulted in us being entrusted with the organisation of the biggest women’s race in the world for the first time in the history of Slovenia. Edvard Kolar, PhD, director general at the Sport Directorate said:”Giro Rosa is going to be a pilot project for developing a systematic approach in determining the standards for candidature, organisation, realisation, and of evaluating the effects of bigger international sports events in regards to the interests on the national level.”

Zoran Jankovič, mayor of the City Municipality of Ljubljana in his statement expressed satisfaction with the achievements that had accompanied the organisation of cycling events in Ljubljana:”The story and the results of the team have put Ljubljana on the cycling map of the world. The girls have proved that hard work and perseverance can bring you far.  I am proud that the team carries the name Ljubljana, which is a green and sustainably-oriented as well as healthy city, where cyclists play a very special role. We have proven this time and time again by organising top cycling events that have a very special place in the hearts of the residents of the most beautiful city in the world. Congratulations to the entire team!”

The Slovenian Cycling Federation has closed the season with a ceremony at the Ljubljana castle. The most prestigious awards for the best cyclists of the year 2014 went to Tanja Žakelj and Luka Mezgec. The best amateur cyclist awards were presented to Ajda Opeka and Igor Kopše, who both, besides other achievements, also wore the World Champion jersey for the road cycling race. Simon Špilak (Team Katjuša) and Jure Kocjan, the member of the American continental team Team Smart Stop, have received the awards for special achievements in cycling. The most successful team in road cycling was the Adria Mobil team, whose Tomaž Nose, a very successful cyclist, ended his active career due to the injuries sustained in a crash. The lifetime achievement award was given to Franc Hvasti, who in 1983 received the Bloudek Award for “results and coaching achievements in cycling”.

The award for special achievements in road cycling was on behalf of the professional women’s team BTC City Ljubljana accepted by Maja Oven, the Director of the BTC City Ljubljana team and the Director of the market communications and public relations sector of the BTC Company.

Additional information:

Maja Oven, Director of the Market Communications and Public Relations Sector