International cycling race Tour of Croatia will be held for the fourth consecutive year, from 17-22 April through six stages on a route longer than 1000 kilometers across Croatia. This is one of the most significant sport events of the year which is additionally confirmed by the official promotion to the 2nd HC category by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and the interest of numerous cycling teams and media which will broadcast the image of Croatia to six continents. This year, the most challenging race so far will host 19 teams, including the ones from UCI's highest classification rank, the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team, Astana Pro Team and Trek Segafredo.
The organizer of the race is Top Sport Events agency, represented by Vladimir Miholjević, director of the race, and the official launch of the stages, teams and other news has been held for partners and media representatives. It was an opportunity for some of the main partners of the project to communicate their impressions regarding Tour of Croatia, so the representatives of partners and sponsors at the national level joined organizers at the organized conference. "This year's edition of the Tour of Croatia will be more exciting and more attractive than the previous ones. On behalf of the entire organizing team I would like to thank all partners and sponsors for their support and understanding because without them this project would not come to realization. Organizationally, we always strive to do even better so we are particularly happy that the transfer stages will be minimal and bicycle teams will have enough time for quality regeneration and preparation for the next stages. The race runs through numerous parks of nature and national parks and we are proud to present these gems to the contestants and to the whole world", Vladimir Miholjević, director of the race stated. He also announced numerous news of this year's edition, among which is the program for children focused on education regarding the importance of recycling made in cooperation with the Fund for Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency.
For the third time, Tour of Croatia starts in Osijek. This introductory stage, 227 kilometers long, is more demanding than the previous ones and the climb to nature park Papuk will represent a new momentum which will make the road to Koprivnica physically more challenging. The finish goal at Zrinski square in Koprivnica will be the perfect completion of this stage.
The longest stage is scheduled for the second day and begins in Karlovac, a town on four rivers. The cyclists will reach the national park Plitvice Lakes and the climb to nature park Velebit will be the main obstacle for sprinters who should be the key participants in this stage. The finish goal of this stage is in Zadar, and the scenery provided by St. Donat will probably be equally interesting to viewers around the world as the race itself.
Short, but ridiculously difficult, makes the best description of the third stage. The start is in Trogir, followed by circle across Čiovo, through the center of the Okrug Gornji, and will raise pride in the organizing team because the sight of historic legacies and natural beauties has the power of leaving the audience speechless. Technically demanding passage through the center of Makarska, followed by the beginning of the hellish climb through nature park Biokovo to the top of St. Jure. Organizers hope the warm weather will melt the snow at the final part of the climb and allow the mountain climb.
The fourth stage, by everyone who has seen it, is the most beautiful road for motor or bicycle riding in Europe or probably even wider, so the organizers are happy the whole world will get a chance to witness it. The start is in Starigrad, and the focus of cyclists will surely be distracted by the beauty of national park Paklenica. The finish goal of the stage is at the main town square in Crikvenica making skill and speed the must-have qualities for the winner of this stage.
The fifth stage carries the title of “the royal stage” of this year's race since in its 155 kilometers holds 3,300 meters of altitude difference and additional climbing from the seafront promenade in Rabac to the center of old town Labin where the official start will be placed. The cyclists will pass through Rijeka via Korzo and continue towards Opatija, fighting for positions before the final uphill of 15 km and 922 meters in height difference from Ičići to Poklon. Last year we witnessed the final sprint of Vincenza Nibali and Jamie Ronson, David defeated Goliath, will it happen again, remains to be seen.
The last stage takes place between Samobor and Zagreb. The final two rounds in Zagreb, with the finish goal at St. Mark square are especially attractive. After the first edition of the race, the organizers received praise from the German editorial office of Eurosport that the final round in the City of Zagreb is the most attractive laps they have seen and how this ending should remain part of the race. The dynamic and demands of the lapses across the center of Zagreb do not allow anyone to take it easy, and the winner is usually the most explosive cyclist of the race. Victory at St. Mark square has its significance, the winners have performed an unforgettable celebratory dance and received praises from the moderators of the Tour de France, making it the best possible compliment there is.
The race will be daily broadcasted by the Croatian National Television with 11 hours of live TV broadcast and through a total of three hours of highlights. Direct transmission will also be broadcasted on Eurosport, and TV broadcasts will be enabled, in generous collaboration with A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation), to numerous television stations on 6 continents - Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia - of which some will broadcast live. This is how the most beautiful postcard from Croatia will once again circle the world. The Spanish production company ISB has been engaged for the technical part of the broadcast, an executive production house for the last 12 Olympic Games, which will shoot the race with cameras during driving and use a special camera helicopter to track the race from air.
Tour of Croatia has received support from the institutional partners and sponsors so the race has a high-level sponsorship of the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia, support of the Ministry of Tourism and the Croatian National Tourist Board, Central State Sports Office, Croatian Parks, City of Zagreb and numerous other cities and counties which host start and finish positions or are passing cities of some of this year's six stages. Other partners and sponsors include HEP, EnergyPlus, Environmental Protection and Energy Efficiency Fund, National Park Plitvice Lakes, National Road Safety Program, Karlovačko, Škoda, Jamnica Pro Sport, Pipi, Valamar Hotels & Resorts, Maslinica Hotels & Resorts, Nalini, Vipnet, Uniline, Sixt, Croz, Vina Puhelek Purek, Europlakat, Sports news as a media partner.