The 41st iteration of Maraton Franja, the largest amateur cycling event in Slovenia, took place on Sunday, with the main 156 kilometer UCI Gran Fondo World Championship qualifying race going to ex-Tour de France pro Johnny Hoogerland (RH77 Factory Team).

The former owner of the polka dot KOM jersey in the Tour de France only needed 3:37:28 to claim his second Maraton Franja victory in as many years. In a drag race sprint to the finish banner, wearing his 2021 UCI Gran Fondo World Champion rainbow jersey, Hoogerland once again showcased his dominant form by defeating three of Italy’s best gran fondo competitors in the final group.

Second place went to Luca Chiesi (Vivo-MG.K Vis-Dal Colle), third was Ettore Carlini (Hair Gallery Cycling Team). Fourth was Francesco Bongiorno (Vivo-MG.K Vis-Dal Colle). Another Italian, Christian Dallago (ASD Carina Brao Caffe – Unterturner), who missed out on making it into the break, was almost one minute behind in fifth.

For the women, Laura Šimenc (Team De Rosa Santini) won for the third time. She reached the finish line in 3:50:17. She previously won in 2017 and 2020. In second position was Maria Elena Palmisano (Garda Scott Matergia), and third went to the Hungarian Adrienn Szabo.

In total, over 2600 competitors participated in the gran fondo events on Sunday 12 June. Those who finished in the top 20% of their age/gender category qualified to race at the International Cycling Union (UCI) amateur Gran Fondo World Championships to be held in Trentino, Italy 15-18 September.

Complete Maraton Franja results HERE.

Photos: Maraton Franja