This year’s Marathon Franja BTC City, which took place from Friday, June 7th to Sunday, June 9th, was the 32nd marathon in a row and has reached a record turnout of cyclists. In total there were around 7,200 cyclists from Slovenia and abroad pedalling their bicycles. The cycling event, which traditionally unites recreational and professional cyclists of all generations, has become, due to its recognisability and popularity in Slovenia as well as abroad, an example of excellent organization of sporting and recreational events.
According to many, the 32rd Marathon Franja BTC City has been the best in its history. Even the World Cycling Association commissioner Andrea Mercellini from Brasil commented on Franja setting an example for the UCI as well as for all the organizers of other cycling marathons across the world.
There were 3,800 cyclists participating in the three-day marathons on Friday and Saturday, 3,500 of them participated in Saturday’s family and school marathon and in the trial for children, whereas 300 participated in Friday’s time trial. There were additional 3,400 cyclists participating in Sunday’s long (156 km) and short (97 km) marathons.
The course of the main race was a classical one and extended from Ljubljana to Vrhnika, Logatec, Godovič, Idrija, Cerkno, Kladje, Sovodenj, Škofja Loka, Vodice and Tacen back to Ljubljana. A successful cycling event was a good rehearsal for the World Championship for Recreational Cyclists which will take place at BTC City Ljubljana next year from 28th to 31st of August.
The competition was accompanied by an interesting programme in the BTC City throughout the three days. Visitors were able to meet numerous esteemed guests from the world of cycling, including famous cyclists: Gilberto Simoni, Luka Mezgec, Tanja Žakelj and Polona Batagelj, the legendary Serbian cyclist Miodrag Marinkovič, professional Slovenian cyclist Borut Božič and former top cyclists Janez Zakotnik, Bojan Ropret, Drago Frelih, Primož Čerin and Jure Pavlič and the entrepreneur Mirko Tuš. The visitors were addressed also by the mayor of Ljubljana, Zoran Jankovič, the president of the Organizing committee and the president of the BTC City Management Board, Jože Mermal, and the president of the Slovenian Cycling Association, Tomaž Grm. A big group of competitors from Austria also took part in the marathon, including Peter Kaiser, the governor of Carinthia and the mayor of Bad Kleinkirchheim.
Jože Mermal, the president of the Organizing committee of Marathon Franja BTC City, has said, in his speech before the official start of Sunday’s marathon, that Marathon Franja has become one of the most important sporting events in Slovenia: “The BTC Company is proud to be a part of the traditional event which joins the recreational and professional cyclists of all generations. Despite the preparations being long and strenuous, and the organization carefully planned and elaborated to the last detail, all the efforts are paid off when you see cyclists at the starting line with high spirits ready to start their chosen trial.”
This year’s Marathon Franja has paid special attention to raising awareness about better safety of cyclists in Ljubljana. The City Municipality of Ljubljana, BTC City and Helios have designed marks on the cycleways in Ljubljana which warn all traffic participants about the “dangerous” cycling spots in the Slovene capital and at the same time warn them to respects traffic regulations. Such marks were put also on several segments of this year’s Marathon Franja course.
Security officers, police officers, paramedics, motorcyclists and a lot of volunteers contributed to the event’s success. In total there were over 1,300 volunteers included in the organization. Over the three days more than 200,000 visitors cheered on all the participants of Marathon Franja BTC City.
Maja Oven, Marketing Communications and Public Relations Director
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