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[CT] Swisslion Cycling Team 2018
Swisslion Cycling Team: Opening Press Conference

Dear audience,

thank you everyone for being here today, at a momentous occasion as I stand before you to unveil the start of a new cycling team in Slovenia.

Just a few months ago I was still at team Isostar - Adriatic and celebrating. Celebrating a season where we achieved the unthinkable, a 2nd promotion in as many years. But things change, especially in a sport like cycling. The gentlemen behind me had a vision and in a short space of time they were able to turn that vision into a reality.

The Swisslion Cycling Team is here with it's own goals and ambitions to promote the sport of cycling in the Balcan region, but also paying homage to those who came before us, like the recently disbanded Balcan Cycling Project and aforementioned Isostar team. The men behind this team have a strong sense of responsibility to ensure we leave a lasting impression in our own backyard, so to speak.

Without further ado I would like to intruduce the men sitting behind me who make our board of directors:

Mr. Rodoljub Draskovic owner of Swisslion Takovo, the title sponsor of our team.
Mr. Rok Lesjak president of Rog Bikes, famous Slovenian bike manufacturer.
Mr. Rudolf Skobe president of Mobitel, mobile network operating company.
Mr. Ludvik Ilovar owner of 3TAV and Mr. Luka Plecnik founder of Sijaj.

Later we will have a Q&A session with myself and our directors about the team and their companies involvement.

Now it's time for the moment you have been waiting for, the jersey unveiling. I would like to take this time to show our sincere gratitude to Fenix Design and their chief designer the_hoyle for the work he put it in making a jersey we will be trying our hardest to show off on the road.


With that completed we will take a short break then I hope everyone joins us for the Q&A part of our press conference.

Bostjan Mervar,
team representative and general manager of Swisslion Cycling Team

Edited by redordead on 22-07-2018 09:51
2018 squad


Edited by redordead on 01-08-2018 20:58
Board of directors

Rodoljub DraskovicPresident
Rok LesjakVice president
Rudolf SkobeBoard member
Ludvik IlovarBoard member
Luka PlecnikBoard member

Team staff

Bostjan MervarGeneral manager
Martin HvastijaDirecteur Sportif
Marko PolancDirecteur Sportif
Jure GolcerCoach
Gregor GazvodaCoach

Team sponsors

Swisslion TakovoTitle sponsor
Rog BikesSecondary sponsor
MobitelSecondary sponsor
3TAVMinor sponsor
SijajMinor sponsor

Edited by redordead on 22-07-2018 09:51
Race calendar


22.01 - 31.01Vuelta al TachiraC2
31.01Great Ocean Road ClassicC2HC


01.02 - 07.02Tour de LangkawiC2HC
07.02Kuurne - Bruxelles - KuurneC2
22.02Gisborne GPC2HC
25.02 - 27.02Hong Kong ChallengeC2


21.03 - 26.03Tour of TurkeyC2HC
24.03 - 28.03Tour of SouthlandC1


04.04 - 10.04Grand Prix du Midi LibreC2HC
08.04Coppa PlacciC2
13.04 - 15.04Tour of UkraineHC
26.04Lincoln GPC2HC


04.05 - 05.05Windhoek ITTC2HC
07.051 Jour de DunkerqueC2
12.05 - 14.05Tour du FasoC2HC
19.05 - 21.05Giro del TrentinoC2
23.05 - 28.05Olympia's TourC1


04.06Lillestrom GPC2
10.06 - 14.06Post Danmark RundtHC
13.06 - 17.04Tour of SlovenieC2HC
26.06 - 30.06Tour d'AndorraC2HC
30.06Monterrey TTTC1


01.07 - 08.07Tour de San LuisC2
05.07 - 06.07Celtic ChronoC1
11.07 - 14.07Bayern RundfahrtC1
16.07 - 20.07Tour of BulgariaC2
17.07Sakartvelo TrophyC2
23.07Vilnius GPC2HC


01.08 - 06.08 Benelux ChallengeC2HC
09.08Rio Vista ChinesaC2
20.08 - 21.08Grands Prix CyclistesC2HC


01.09Paris ToursC2HC
01.09 - 05.09Tour of BritainC1
10.09 - 13.09Euskal BizikletaC2HC
24.09Colombian VenteauxC2HC
29.09GP YekaterinburgC2


01.10Heiste PijlC2
06.10 - 09.10Course de SolidarnoscC2HC
06.10 - 10.10Herald Sun TourC2HC
18.10Zuri MetzgeteC2HC

Race goals

RaceCountry CategoryGoalImportance
Windhoek ITT C2HCWin*****
Giro del TrentinoC2Top 10**
Tour de Slovenie C2HCTop 10***
Tour of Bulgaria C2Top 10**
CT Team standings Top 10***

Edited by redordead on 23-08-2018 20:45
It's awesome to see you on board. Loving your approach. Bostjan may have done the right move of swapping the projects here, let's see Wink

Good luck for your teambuilding, it will be great to have you waving the Slovenian flag in the Man-Game! Smile

Press conference Q&A

Q: How come we see you back so early after your episode with team Isostar?

Mervar: To be honest I wasn't expecting to be in this position as early as a few weeks ago. I had a great time at Isostar, but that story came to an end for me and I was expecting to take some time off.

That's when I got contacted by Rok and Rudolf about a new cycling team forming with it's HQ in Ljubljana. After also conversing with Rodoljub and hearing about his ambitions for cycling in Serbia and the general region, well it just wasn't an opportunity I could say no to.

Q: What was your reason for deciding to sponsor a cycling team based in Slovenia?

Draskovic: For a while now my company has been looking at opportunities to sponsor a cycling team and with the end of the Balcan Cycling Project general interest was high. Speaking with other people especially my Slovenian colleagues we were able to see that forming our own team was very much a reality.

The team as you said will be based in Slovenia given the techinical staff is all from here and also Slovenia is the leading cycling nation in our region, but make no mistake our goal is to promote cycling throughout the Balcan region. Our budget may not be a big as some other CT teams, but we are aiming for stability in a sport that is anything but that.

Q: You are sponsoring the team as a bike manufacturing company and yet you will not be supplying the team with race bikes. Is that perhaps on the cards in the future?

Lesjak: True. We are not supplying the team with race bikes as we are currently not able to manufacture race bikes. Can we do it in the future? Difficult to say as it would require a big shift in the company.

We are sponsoring this team on the level of general cycling which is as big of a promotion goal as racing. Our Pony bicycles have always provided people an affordable way to ride and commute through cities and that's something we will continue to strive for.

Q: Rog Bikes is owned by the Gorenje company which has been sponsoring team Isostar for a few years now. Is there a conflict of interest there between the teams?

Lesjak: No, none at all. This a completely separate venture that Gorenje supports. We are all here for the benefit of cycling.

Mervar: I would like to add that we are not directly competing with team Isostar. Rather we are in a way filling a void they have left by joining the PT. There are a lot of regional riders here that aren't able to ride for a PT team, but can be given an opportunity to ride with us at CT level.

When we do cross paths with team Isostar I believe we will do so in a friendly maner.

Q: You have zero sponsorship experience in sports let alone cycling. What will your role be in supporting the team?

Ilovar: We will on a small percentage support the team financially as well as provide some IT and bookkeeping support for team operations. Also our company strives to work with other companies that promote a cleaner environment which meshes perfectly with what this project intends with cycling, plus we are all avid cycling fans!

Q: Your asssociation is known as a non-profit group. How can you help fund a cycling team?

Plecnik: We can't. Our group works on producing positive news and content for people to read on a daily to weekly basis. That's what we will be doing for the team. Covering the team from a general and social media point of view as well as producing behind the scenes content.

This is huge a opportunity for us and we are extremely happy to be part of this project!

Q: Finally what are your plans for the racing squad? Will we see some stars riding for Swisslion this season?

Mervar: Our plan is to have squad with a strong regional focus in Balcans, but we are also not looking to just make up the numbers in the peloton. We want to compete with the best of our abilities.

We will be announcing some of our riders in the near future. Stay tuned.

That will be all for todays press conference. Thank you all for coming, hope to see more of you during the season.

Bostjan Mervar,
team representative and general manager of Swisslion Cycling Team

Edited by redordead on 12-09-2018 10:09
Rider signings

We are here to announce the first wave of signings for Swisslion's first MG season. As promised we have a strong regional focus with the riders we targeted. Please give a warm welcoming to the following riders:

Luka Mezgec



Mezgec: I am very excited to join Swisslion and to race in a familiar environment to last year. The team told me I am their #1 sprinter for now and they will try to support me as best as they can.

Mateo Frankovic



Frankovic: Feels great to be back in the peloton and to race with some familiar faces. I'll be doing my best to put our main sprinter in position to do a good sprint.

Jovan Zekavica



Zekavica: Even though I am 27 years old this will be my 1st pro season so I'm looking to learn more from guys like Mezgec and to develop my own skills.

Eugert Zhupa



Zhupa: The team brought me here as a leader for the cobbled races, so firstly I want to thank them for putting their trust in me. Second I know there will be some younger boys riding with me, I hope I can help them with my experience on the road.

Matija Mestric



Mestric: This year I have decided to focus fully on the road racing and have a year off with MTB. Looking forward to riding some tough cobbles next to Eugert Zhupa.

Izidor Penko



Penko: I see myself being a TT rider and being coached by Martin Hvastija and Gregor Gazvoda can only help me develop those skills.

We also have a trade deal to announce in which we were able to acquire Luka Pibernik and Miha Poljanec for a total sum of € 420.000 from team Isostar Slovenija. With this deal we feel we got 2 riders that not only embody the regional spirit of our team, but will also be very important when it comes to competing for the highest places.

Luka Pibernik



Pibernik: First I want to thank everyone at Isostar for the time I spent there. That time made me the rider I am today. I was brought here to help the team compete in the hills and that is going to be my focus.

Miha Poljanec



Poljanec: I am an allround rider who can contribute to the team on many different terrains. I am looking forward to helping our leaders wherever and perhaps sometimes getting a chance to go into the breakway.

Gabor Kasa



Kasa: It was dissapointing when I heard the Balcan Cycling Project was ending, so this was an opportunity I wasn't going to pass up. I am a versatile rider so you should see me support my leaders on the flat, hills and high mountains.

Stefan Petrovski



Petrovski: I am first and foremost a climber and I'm excited to back in the peloton with what I could call a "local" team. Expect to see me near my team leaders in the high mountains, maybe I even get a chance to grab some KOM points.

We expect to announce more signings in near future. Stay tuned.

Bostjan Mervar,
team representative and general manager of Swisslion Cycling Team

Edited by redordead on 24-07-2018 09:53
Awesome write-up! Such an amount of very cool riders from the region. You know I'm gonna root for you, but I guess you guessed anyway Smile

Fantastic work, now keep it up and have some more scorers taken in!

Also: Really cool interview with Bostjan and the others! Team is set
Well done on the signings. I like this team a lot.

Yellow Jersey
SotD wrote:
Well done on the signings. I like this team a lot.

This. And Zuppa is a very very dangerous rider if the cobbled classics are disputed like last year Shock
When I first saw your team I thought wait a minute, there's a new Swiss team?? Smile

But you're building a great squad, good luck!
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It is the spiritual successor to the Balkan Cycling Project which was shortlived project from last year.
@Croatia14: Thanks for your support, we will be keeping an eye on your PT voyage too!

Bostjan is doing a good job so far Smile

@SotD: Thank you! It's always nice to hear from the experienced MG managers Smile

@Yellow Jersey: Yes, we are hoping Zhupa can bring us a nice presence in the cobbled classics.

@Bushwackers: There might be a Swiss connection in the future Wink

Thanks, good luck to you as well!

@ivaneurope: I became aware of MG towards the end of the season so I don't know a lot about that team, but we definitely felt there was a void in this region.

Rider signing

Ivan Kovalev



Kovalev: It may be a step down, but I don't look at it like that. I believe I still have some great years on the bike helping drive my team on the flat roads. But whenever a time-trial comes up I'm looking to rip it up!

Bostjan Mervar,
team representative and general manager of Swisslion Cycling Team

Edited by redordead on 29-07-2018 11:08
I like the look of your team. A very nice regional focus!


Svensk Proffscykling - Your gateway to news about Swedish Cycling
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ah yeah, on 50k Kovalev can be a steal on the continental time trial scene - great pick-up Smile
@Atlantius: Thank you! We are happy with how our regional signings have gone so far, but we are still lacking some quality riders.

@Croatia14: Yes, we are very happy to add Kovalev to our ranks. Hopefully more to come.

Welcome to MG CT and good luck with your project.
Nice jersey.

If you're interested in weird music:
Rider signing

Kai Reus



Reus: This I feel is a new exciting project for which I am very much looking forward to bringing my skills and experience. The team have given me leadership status so I plan to repay their trust with great performances especially in all the TT races.

Bostjan Mervar,
team representative and general manager of Swisslion Cycling Team

Nice signing there, that is one rider I was hoping wouldn't end up back in CT as he already gave Zoidl enough headaches last season.
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