Why NW Istria?
We come here every year because we like the race course configuration and the competition, which makes NW Istria excellent for training. The roads here are really good, and what’s more, there’s no traffic in winter. There are hills and valleys, and the temperature is good.
How are the cycling conditions in NW Istria?
The conditions in this part of the year are perfect, the courses are great for a change of rhythm, for example Oprtalj, Učka, and Motovun, so we have all kinds of terrain and the temperature is right. I think that everything is well-suited to cyclists.
How did the weather treat you?
Only rain is problematic for cyclists, but I think there were only two days of rain in the last month and a half. The weather was great!
During training, you stayed at the Sol Garden Istra bike hotel. What can you say about the hotel and how satisfied are you with the service?
A great hotel and great food, you can tell that the staff is used to cyclists. They understand that our bicycles are important to us and that it’s exceptionally important to us that they are kept safe.
What do you think about the additional hotel services, and how important are they for cyclists when choosing accommodations?
This isn’t so important during training, but it’s definitely a plus. The saunas and pools are great for the guys to relax a bit after training and races.
Do cyclists have a special diet regime?
The food we were offered at the hotel was great, there was something for everyone. Before races it’s important to eat enough carbohydrates and not eat too much fat, but after the race pretty much everything is allowed. And of course, cyclists should be fit and not overweight.
Your team travels a lot and takes part in various cycle races. Where have you been so far? How do you choose which races the team will take part in?
Our first training was in Spain. A part of the team is currently in Croatia, and another part is in Malaysia, after which they’re going to Taiwan. The team travels around the entire world. We choose races where we think we can attain results and be competitive, and not just to travel.
Did you have the chance to see Umag, to visit some of the restaurants?
We did, we visited Konoba Nono and tried Istrian pasta with truffles, it was excellent. We often visit NW Istria taverns with families. We love your food. Many of our cyclist friends from Slovenia stock up on your best-known delicacy – the truffle – right here.
You were also a professional cyclist?
I have been cycling for thirty years. I was a professional until 2006, and I took part in all the best-known races, such as the Tour de France. I fell in love with the sport as a child, when I visited cycle races in Slovenia with my dad.
What are the plans for the future of the Baku Cycling Project team?
Azerbaijan is a young nation in the world of cycling. Our main goal is to place at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and be better every year. We think we’re on the right track. It’s interesting to note that there are people from across the world on our team, we’re getting better organized every year, and we have big ambitions. It’s great to work in a team like this, we all have the same goal and we want to climb a step higher.
Any message for cyclists coming to NW Istria?
The conditions for cycling are excellent, especially before and after the tourist season because of the lack of traffic, the courses are great, and the food is good. The weather conditions are ideal. Since you have been organizing various races for more than twenty years, you are known as a cycling destination. Recreational cycling is also on the rise, you have plenty of well-marked bike paths, and I would definitely recommend that cyclists visit northwestern Istria.
We would like to note that the overall winner of the 12th Istrian Spring is Markus Eibegger, a member of the Synergy Baku Cycling Project team.