Borut Božič

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Borut Božič
Borut Božič profile Tour Down Under 2012.jpg
Božič at the 2012 Tour Down Under
Personal information
Full name Borut Božič
Nickname Borjo
Born (1980-08-08) 8 August 1980 (age 36)
Idrija, Yugoslavia
Team information
Current team Bahrain–Merida
Discipline Road
Role Rider
Rider type Sprinter
Professional team(s)
2004–2006 Perutnina Ptuj
2007 Team LPR
2008 Cycle Collstrop
2009–2011 Vacansoleil
2012–2015 Astana
2016 Cofidis
2017– Bahrain–Merida
Major wins

Grand Tours

Vuelta a España
1 individual stage (2009)

Stage races

Tour de Wallonie (2007)

One-day races and Classics

National Road Race Championships (2008, 2012)

Borut Božič (born 8 August 1980) is a Slovenian professional road racing cyclist. Considered a sprinter in the mold of Óscar Freire,[citation needed] Božič's career highlights include winning the 2007 Tour de Wallonie, victory in the first stage of the 2009 Tour de Pologne (plus two days in the leader's jersey), winning the sixth stage of the 2009 Vuelta a España, and 1st in stage five of the 2011 Tour de Suisse. Božič turned professional in 2004 and currently rides for Astana.[1]

Early life[edit]

Born in Idrija, Božič got his start in cycling at age 10, despite growing up in a family with no connection to the sport. Though his friends cycled, his dad was a football player – so he looked to his compatriot Valter Bonca for inspiration. Božič is married to Klemintina, with whom he has a son, Sas. The family resides in Idrija, Slovenia. During the first three years of his career, Božič also trained for skiing, though by age 24 he realized he could make a living as a professional cyclist.[2]

Professional career[edit]

Božič turned professional in 2004 with Perutnina Ptuj. He moved to the Italian Team LPR in 2007, but left for Belgian squad Cycle Collstrop in 2008. Božič's most successful season to date was 2009, his first with Vacansoleil, which he finished by taking third-place in the Paris–Tours classic behind winner Philippe Gilbert and runner-up Tom Boonen. Božič escaped with the two Belgians with 7 km to go, at the base of the Côte de l'Epan after an attack from Gilbert's teammate Greg Van Avermaet. Having led the trio into the final 300m on the Avenue du Grammont, Božič attempted to contest the sprint, but he was gapped by Gilbert with 150m to the line, and cut short his effort.

After extending his contract with Vacansoleil through 2011,[3] Božič was able to train calmly during the winter, and he resumed his winning ways in 2010. Božič claimed stages 1 and 2 of the Étoile de Bessèges in France, and placed second on the third. He started the fourth stage as leader of the general classification, but lost over 20 minutes to eventual race-winner Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis). Nevertheless, Božič's consistency was rewarded with overall victory in the points classification, where he finished with 79, four more than the runner-up Niko Eeckhout (Bel) of An Post – Sean Kelly. Božič's next result of merit was a 12th-place in the 204 km East Flanders classic, Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where he arrived in the first chase group, 18 second in arrears of eventual race winner Juan Antonio Flecha (SKY).[4] Unfortunately, the 2010 season was ultimately a quiet one for Božič, and he did not score a major victory like in the previous year's Tour of Spain (1st, stage 6).

In 2011, a frustrated Božič continued racing a similar program to years past, but he crashed-out of May's Giro d'Italia and saw his progress disrupted. Taking into account their rider's two falls in Italy and general lack of results, the team reworked Božič's schedule and conceptualized an alternative approach according to Vacansoleil's sports director Jean-Paul van Poppel, who explained:

Božič at the 2012 Tour Down Under.

"Due to the crashes Božič couldn't follow up to a start in the Giro and get the results he was aiming for in the season. However, after the Giro we made plans with Božič. We decided he would firstly compete in the Tour of Luxembourg to build him up for races and then we agreed the Tour of Switzerland was a race that would help him get some good results in the Tour de France. The plan is coming together nicely."[5]

Božič finally returned to the winner's circle at the UCI WorldTour with a dramatic and emotional victory in the fifth stage of the Tour de Suisse. There, Božič crossed the finish line in tears after having countered a daring move by his Italian team mate Marco Marcato in the final kilometre.[6] Second behind the 30-year-old Slovenian after the 204 km trek from Huttwil to Tobel-Täegerschen was Spain's Óscar Freire, with the Slovak Peter Sagan of Liquigas in third.[7]

Wiping the tears from his eyes while giving an interview immediately following his win, Božič told the press that he could not believe he had triumphed after such a long gap without a major victory:

"My last [big] win was in 2009, a stage in the Tour of Spain and even today I hadn't expected to do so well. I told my teammate Marcato to attack in the last kilometre because I felt a bit rough and that, if he couldn't make it, I'd try for the sprint. We were lucky it all worked out. I've had a very difficult last six months, no wins and never really feeling good on the bike. Today I thought it wasn't my day either but, with 50 meters to go, I got on Freire's back wheel, then got past him at the last possible moment."[7]

Božič's win gave added impetus to his push for a coveted spot on Vacansoleil's Tour de France roster, which would mark the Slovenian's 1st appearance in the French grand tour. He has already competed in both the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España.

Božič joined Astana for the 2012 season.[1] In October 2015 Cofidis announced that Božič would be part of their squad for 2016.[8]

Career achievements[edit]

Major results[edit]

2002
1st Stage 2 Grand Prix Guillaume Tell
2004
1st 2 Stages Tour of Slovenia
1st Stage Tour of Serbia
1st Stage Istrian Spring Trophy
2005
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
1st Stage 1
1st Stage 3 Tour de l'Avenir
2006
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Istrian Spring Trophy
1st Prologue & Stage 1
Tour of Slovenia
1st Jersey green.svg Points classification
1st Stages 1 & 4
Olympia's Tour
1st Stages 2, 3 & 8
1st Stage 1 Circuit des Ardennes
2007
1st Jersey yellow.svg Overall Tour de Wallonie
1st GP Kranj
1st Stage 3 Tour of Ireland
4th Tour de Rijke
2008
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
1st Stage 5 Étoile de Bessèges
1st Stage 4 Vuelta a Andalucía
1st Stage 3 Delta Tour Zeeland
6th Kuurne–Brussels–Kuurne
9th Paris–Brussels
10th Scheldeprijs
2009
1st Stage 5 Vuelta a España
Tour of Belgium
1st Stage 2 & 3
1st Stage 1 Tour de Pologne
1st Stage 1 Tour du Limousin
3rd Overall Ster Elektrotoer
3rd Paris–Tours
5th Overall Tour de Picardie
6th Overall Three Days of De Panne
6th Hel van het Mergelland
9th Paris–Bourges
2010
Étoile de Bessèges
1st Stages 1 & 2
2nd Overall Tour of Britain
1st Stage 7
6th Overall Tour de Picardie
2011
1st Stage 5 Tour de Suisse
3rd Vattenfall Cyclassics
4th Grand Prix d'Isbergues
6th London–Surrey Cycle Classic
6th Paris–Bruxelles
7th Road race, UCI Road World Championships
9th Memorial Rik Van Steenbergen
2012
1st MaillotEslovenia.PNG Road race, National Road Championships
2nd Clásica de Almería
6th GP Stad Zottegem
8th GP Ouest–France
8th Grand Prix Pino Cerami
10th Vattenfall Cyclassics
2013
2nd Gent–Wevelgem
2nd Dwars door Vlaanderen
5th Grand Prix de Fourmies
9th GP Ouest–France
2014
3rd Dwars door Vlaanderen
7th E3 Harelbeke
2015
3rd Road race, National Road Championships
2016
5th Route Adélie

Grand Tour general classification results timeline[edit]

Grand Tour 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
A pink jersey Giro d'Italia DNF 124
A yellow jersey Tour de France 136 129 DNF
A red jersey Vuelta a España 102
Legend
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

References[edit]

External links[edit]