At today’s press conference, the organisers of Marathon Franja BTC City – the KD Rog Cycling Club – with the support of the BTC Company, the City of Ljubljana and other partners – announced the 42nd edition of the popular cycling festival, which will take place as usual on the second weekend of June, on 10 and 11 June 2023. The organisers expect more than 5,000 participants to tackle the five Franja routes. This year, special emphasis is placed on encouraging physical exercise and sustainable mobility among young people, with families and elementary school students being able to compete for the biggest family or school team prize, and more women on bikes.
The 42nd Marathon Franja BTC City, which has been taking place every year without interruption since 1982, will challenge professional cyclists and cycling enthusiasts of all generations on five routes of varying difficulties. On Saturday, 10 June, cyclists who chose the 72-kilometre-long Barjanka Hervis route, the 21-kilometre Medex Family Marathon and kids who are set to compete in the 1.5-kilometre Vzajemko’s Kids Cycling Challenge will start at the Kongresni trg square in Ljubljana. On Sunday, 11 June, the two longest routes will start and finish in BTC City Ljubljana: the 156-kilometre-long Marathon Franja BTC City and the 97-kilometre-long Triglav Little Marathon Franja.
This year, too, Marathon Franja will take place under the slogan “From Franja to the Tour”, highlighting its role as an important springboard for successful Slovenian cyclists, which is why it is also called the “cradle of Slovenian cycling greats”. In addition, Franja remains a part of the UCI Gran Fondo World Series, which includes 28 of the most prestigious Gran Fondo events in the world.
Cyclists who qualify at this year’s Franja will be able to take part in the Amateur Cycling World Championships in Glasgow, where the best professional cyclists in the world will compete as well.
Marathon Franja BTC City is popular among both Slovenian and international cyclists, and in addition to realising the competitive goals of professional riders, it is intended to promote recreational sports among all generations. This year, with the goal of promoting physical exercise, active leisure and sustainable modes of mobility among young people, the organisers are awarding the largest family and school team that will participate in the Medex Family Marathon with a special prize. A special invitation to participate in Marathon Franja BTC City was sent to all Slovenian primary schools.
This year’s Franja gained two new sponsors, Aquafil SLO and EES. Both recognised in Franja the added value of encouraging all generations to spend their free time more actively and practice a healthier lifestyle, as well as that of linking business with responsibility towards customers, employees and the environment.
Every year, the event also makes a significant contribution to the development of women’s cycling and is aimed at increasing the number of women on bikes. A total of more than 23,000 female cyclists have participated in the 41 editions of the event so far, and the organisers are proud to note an ever-increasing share of female participants. At the moment, as much as a third of all Franja participants are women. This is a considerably higher number than in comparable bike races in nearby countries.
At the announcement of this year’s Marathon, Jože Mermal, President of the Marathon Franja BTC City Organising Committee and Chairman of the BTC Board of Directors, pointed out: “At the BTC company, we are proudly entering the 21st year of general sponsorship of Marathon Franja BTC City, with which we have been inextricably linked since 2003. We are maintaining Franja’s important mission, the mission of the cradle of Slovenian cycling greats to promote this beautiful sport among all generations every day, not just the second weekend in June. Every year, we co-create this celebration of cycling with joy and dedication, taking it from a modest one-day event to a true sports platform. Because the most beautiful things happen at Franja. This year, too, the Marathon will challenge thousands of cyclists in interesting ways and bring together fans of this noble sport. The most beautiful thing here is that Franja’s popularity testifies to its contribution to the promotion of recreational sports among all generations and carries a message of caring for ourselves and our planet. Not only during Franja’s weekend in June, but every day of the year.”
Gorazd Penko, Director of Marathon Franja BTC City, said: “Once again, we are eagerly awaiting the second weekend of June and a new edition of the always unforgettable Franja. It lives and progresses every year due to the selfless passion and dedication of the organisers, partners and volunteers, who ensure that this festival of cycling is a unique and safe event for all participants. This year, we are especially happy to welcome young cyclists, as we want Franja to convey to them the importance of movement and green mobility. But the award for the largest family or school team at the Marathon is not the only way Franja is contributing to the promotion of actively engaging in sports among young people this year.”
In its 41 editions, Marathon Franja BTC City has seen participation of over 160,000 officially registered cyclists from more than 70 countries of the world in the spirit of cycling. It was in July 1982 that 700 cyclists rode the first Marathon Franja course, and as many as 10 riders completed all 41 editions of it. In 2020, Franja was the only UCI Gran Fondo World Series race to take place during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this way, Franja provides excitement to friends of cycling every year, and will make for another unforgettable weekend this year as well.
You can find out more about Marathon Franja BTC City and the event programme at franja.org.