Istria300 Race Director Vladimir Miholjević’s life has always been linked with cycling, and he knows Istria like the back of his hand. As a pro cyclist, he covered thousands of kilometres in Istria every year. He took part in the Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta for the WorldTour Teams Alessio – Bianchi and Liquigas. Now he is Race Director at the Cro Race and Istria300. Furthermore, he was one who gave his part in building up the Bahrain-Victorious Team and is currently working as Performance Director in the successful UCI WorldTeam.
Top 5 spots not to miss during your training camp in Istria!
Thousands of passionate road cyclists decide to start their outdoor training in Istria every year between February and May. Every year, more and more cyclists become aware of the hidden gem on the Adriatic coast and enjoy cycling on almost car-free roads in the Istrian hinterland. To ensure road cyclists an experience-rich stay, Istria300 Race Director Vladimir Miholjević is presenting the 5 top spots on the Istria300 courses.
Some locals call the area around Motovun the “heart of Istria”. The small town is located on a 280m hill in the middle of the Mirna valley and is surrounded by several vineyards of very famous vineries. When coming closer to Motovun, don’t miss the climb up to the centre. On the last few hundred meters, you will a narrow alleyway paved with old stone slabs, before reaching the top, which guarantees a breathtaking view. Take a rest, enjoy some coffee or when having time, order some typical pasta like Fuži with truffle. At Istria300 all three courses are passing Motovun.
In the Middle Ages, Dvigrad was one of the most important trading centres of Istria. Today, only the ivy-covered walls of the original houses that are still visible remind of the once flourishing town and are a reminiscent of a movie set. Dvigrad is located in the vicinity of the Lim Bay. Coming from Poreč, its reached after passing three switchbacks, which provide several perspectives as you descend. All three Istria300 routes pass the ruins of Dvigrad.
The small village of Skitača is located in Labinština, the Eastern part of Istria, on 430 meters. At Istria300, participants of the 300 and 225 kilometres courses reach this spot after climbing from the fishing village Trget and will be thrilled by the view towards Kvarner Bay and the Island of Cres. Make sure to visit the lovely old town of Labin when riding a loop that includes Skitača. In case of a vacation in Rabac, where you will also find a Bike Center in the Valamar Girandella Resort, Skitača is a must-do as well.
Grožnjan is located in central Istria and approximately six kilomteres away from the Istria300 courses, but a real highlight. The village peaks at 280 metres above the Mirna valley and is the place to be for artists, musician and art enthusiasts. Grožnjan is characterized by narrow footpath paved with stones. Most probably it’s better the walk the bike when exploring this lovely town, which often hosts music festival and events.
On the longest Istria300 course, between Pazin and Vrh, suddenly appears Draguć on the ridge of a hill. When it comes to movies, Draguć is the number one spot in Istria. Even Hollywood movies have been produced in this small town in the deepest hinterland of Istria. The village is also known for its churches and fresco paintings, which can be visited on several places. If out on your bike and a bit lucky, you will not meet a single car in this area on the roads.