Dutchman Hoogerland defends Franja Marathon victory

Ljubljana – Dutch rider Johnny Hoogerland won the 41st Franja Marathon on Sunday to defend last year’s victory in what is Slovenia’s largest amateur cycling event.

The 39-year-old former Tour de France polka-dot jersey winner finished the 156-kilometre race in 3 hours, 37 minutes and 28 seconds, beating an Italian breakaway group.

Luca Chiesi came in second and Ettore Carlini third, followed by two more Italians, Francesco Bongiorno in fourth and Christian Dallago in fifth. The latter built a lag of 52 seconds.

The best Slovenian was Tadej Sedar in 9th.

Slovenia’s Laura Šimenc was best among women, finishing the race in 3:50:17 for her third Franja victory after 2017 and 2020. Her compatriot Nina Pugelj came in second and Italian Elena Maria Palmisano placed third.

The marathon takes riders from Ljubljana on a round trip to Cerkno in the west of the country and back. It is named after a hospital operated by the Partisan resistance movement during World War II near Cerkno.