UMAG, July 18, 2017
At an introductory press conference held at the Social Arena of the 28th Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, the program of the sixth Istria Granfondo, the large international road cycling marathon, was presented.
Istria Granfondo was presented by Istraturist’s CEO and chairman of the tournament’s Organizing Committee Ronald Korotaj, head of the Tourist Board and chairman of the Northwestern Istria Cluster Milovan Popović, and Laura Šimenc, winner of the 2016 Granfondo Small. The press conference was also attended by David Goffin, tournament’s top seed, who said that Umag was beautiful and that he liked the concept of the race, adding that he would gladly join it himself.
“The entire Istria, Umag especially, is really turning into a sports destination. Cycling is one of those trends that has really taken off. There is a growing number of those who are taking it up for recreational purposes, only to later become more serious about it and participate in races such as Granfondo. This particular race is of special significance to passionate cyclists and is raising our standard of excellence to a new level. It is my great pleasure to announce the sixth and, I’m sure, successful edition of Granfondo“, Ronald Korotaj stated.
At this year’s Istria Granfondo, which will take place from October 6 until October 8, the competitors can expect to see a number of new offers, an even richer entertainment program and many side events. At the opening of the event, there will be a recreational guided cycling tour titled Wine & Bike by the Sea Tour, allowing all the participants to enjoy the 9-kilometer cycling route by the sea and, at the very end, a rich gourmet offer of Istrian delicacies at the center of Umag. The second day will be reserved for the main marathon, starting and ending at Stella Maris. The marathon will have two main stages: 90-kilometer Istria Granfondo Small and 136-kilometer Istria Granfondo Classic. On Sunday, all the recreational cyclists will be able to enter the 25-kilometer Istria Granfondo Family & Gourmet Tour, which will take the participants through Novigrad and the surrounding area as well as over some beautiful cycling routes along the sea and through olive groves and vineyards. At the rest stops they will be offered Istria’s traditional food.
“Right now cycling is one of the fastest growing forms of tourism. Cyclists come in pre- and post-season, which is very important to us, and Granfondo has by now become a traditional race. Cyclists know the race, and this builds up Umag and Istria’s positive image. By estimates, this year there should be around 800 registrations, and if we take into consideration last year’s 600-odd registrations, it’s really a significant increase. With support staff, friends and family, we get around 1,000 people, which is a great number”, Milovan Popović said.
The organizers have improved the registration for this year’s race with the option of online payment, in order to decrease registration crowds, together with collection of group tickets. The varied offer
includes packages that combine participation fee and accommodation at great facilities and at promotional prices.
“I’d like to invite everyone to try out the Granfondo, because the route crosses beautiful Istrian countryside. At the same time you can cycle and enjoy vistas of almost the whole of Istria. The race is well organized and the program is great”, Laura Šimenc added.
Each year the marathon attracts more cyclists. Last year, there were around 600 Istria Granfondo participants from 12 countries. This year’s cyclists can expect 120 prizes (1st through 3rd positions in all categories) as well as 20 prizes for the most numerous teams. The overall winner will collect the grand prize, a bicycle provided by the golden sponsor – Keindl.