International podiums during Maraton Franja

The 40th edition of Maraton Franja was a big success after months of Covid lockdown and restrictions and noticed an international field at the start for the well-known 156 and 100km races.

The popularity of cycling in Slovenia is absolutely at its top with Pogacar and Roglic as an example for many young kids wanting to start racing their bike. Maraton Franja has always played an important role in the growth of cycling in the country.

The organizers decided not to run the time trial this year, but the traditional family ride on Saturday saw a lot of happy faces with young children doing a short course as a lead-up to the major events on Sunday.

The 156km Granfondo with two climbs was decided in a three men sprint. Dutch former pro-rider Johnny Hoogerland who resides in Austria made a solo escape on the Kladje climb and was caught back by two compatriots Matic Groselj and Gregor Tekavec after the downhill to then finally sprint for the overall victory where Hoogerland won before the two Slovenians.

First female on the long distance was British Matea Deliu before Slovenian Katarina Novak who battled for victory in a close bunch sprint. Nina Pugelj got overall third six minutes later.

In the half maraton over 100km, counting as official qualifier distance for all men over 60 and women over 50, Slovenian Tadej Ales was the overall fastest, but in the older age categories fighting for the tickets for worlds, Italian Maurizio Deponte won his age group for the overall fastest time in the 60+ age groups in a sprint before Swiss Felix Widmer and Slovenian Andrej Zavbi.

Fastest female in the 100km was Italian Milena Felici who was faster than her compatriot Elena Pancari and another Italian Rosangela Foresti.

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