Discover a typographically diverse, primarily forested and mountainous country with incredible climbing opportunities for intrepid cyclists to conquer. You'll find these towering high in the Triglav National Park in the far northwestern part of this tiny country half the size of Switzerland and covers 20,273 square kilometres. Along the borders that join Italy and Austria are the High Alps and the Julian Alps, including Slovenia's highest peak, Mount Triglav, at 2,864 metres. One can cycle numerous well-kept routes in a pristine, natural environment in Slovenia in the centre of Europe, connecting three countries, Italy, Croatia, Hungary and the Adriatic Sea.
You can choose to go on an incredible journey of discovery with ROUVY on routes that traverse the majestic and towering Julian Alps in the northwest with spectacular mountainous landscapes suited to the more enthusiastic cyclist but also enjoy a lot of flat, picturesque roads along meandering emerald-green crystal-clear rivers and glacial lakes, in the Bovec region and the Soča river valley before the climbing starts. These popular and famous roads are the ideal training ground for many top Slovenian pro road cyclists, such as Tadej Pogačar, Primož Rogljič, and Matej Mohorič, that would have undoubtedly honed their climbing skills.
The top Slovenian pros are Tadej Pogačar, currently riding for the UCI WorldTeam UAE Team Emirates, Primož Rogljič for Team Jumbo–Visma and Matej Mohorič for Bahrain-Victorious.
Pogačar won the 2020 and 2021 Tour de France, winning three different jerseys in each Tour and compared to legends such as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Fausto Coppi, who were skilled in all types of terrains such as the time-trial, one-day classics and climbing. His list of victories is so long that I won't elaborate in this article. Still, it's incredible how the young rider has taken over the top rankings early in his career and continues into 2023 to dominate the peloton.
Primož Rogljič began his sporting career as a ski jumper and turned to cycling following a fall. Rogljič has many achievements in races such as La Vuelta, Paris-Nice and Criterium du Dauphine. Unfortunately, many falls disrupted some of his races. He was awarded the Golden Order of Merit in 2021 for sporting excellence putting Slovenia firmly on the world sports map.
Matej Mohorič was the Slovenian road race champion for 2018 and 2021 and has won many stage races since 2014, when he turned professional. In 2022, Mohorič won the monument Milan-San Remo, attacking on the descent of the Poggio using a somewhat controversial method of a dropper seat post.
We can in no way compare ourselves to these Slovenian pros. Still, there are ways to up our game, and that is not only through strength training but also mental toughness through climbing, and that is something special that the champions have mastered - a skill also in favour of the more lightweight riders with power in their legs. They have made it an art to embrace the climbs, find a regular rhythm and hang on to the end. With gains in fitness through consistency, this is achievable by anyone with practice and a reduced BMI and W/kg, making it a lot easier.
Let's take on three popular and testing Slovenia routes on ROUVY and enjoy the magnificent views and scenery while getting fit and improving our climbing skills. Challenge yourself and conquer Slovenia's magnificent, highest and most famous and historic passes in the far Northwestern side of the country, where we will journey through and explore the spectacular and rugged Julian Alps in the magnificent Triglav National Park.
Explore Slovenia's highest pass in the Julian Alps on ROUVY, filmed by bike - The famous and historic Mangart Pass, situated on the border of Italy and Slovenia. The mountain road lies in the Triglav National Park, rated by many as the world's second-most scenic climb. The unique pass was built in 1938 by Italian soldiers in WW2 when the area was part of Italy.
The steep and winding road is the third-highest peak in Slovenia at an altitude of over 2,000 m. One can ascend 845m over almost 11km with an average grade of 8% and a maximum of 17% on a narrow road with rugged and steep cliffs stitched to the roads edge that winds now and again through historic, small and dark tunnels. The road crosses the border from Italy to the far northwestern part of Slovenia with breathtaking views of the Julian Alps, the Loška Koritnica Valley and Lake Fusine in Italy.
The picturesque Passo del Predil alpine climb northwest of Slovenia leads you through a serene, picturesque, remote valley that ends where the Mangart begins on the Italian border. The road takes you on a scenic journey through pine forests and gorgeous mountain views to the edge of Italy, with historical remains from WWI. We start along the valley near one of the most visited cultural monuments in the Soča valley - a massive fort built for defence against Turkish invasions, Napoleon's army and attacks during World War I. The fort lies 4 km from Bovec toward the Predil Mountain Pass.
The route is 15 km long, with a 5% average gradient. The first half is slightly rolling with an average slope of just 2,5%, so this climb is quite manageable if you ride conservatively in the first half at least and use the flatter parts to warm up your legs for the 6 km climb afterward, which is not that steep compared with other climbs in this area.
While you are in this neck of the woods in the far northwest, you can plan a virtual trip across the border into Italy and ride just over 100km, and you'd find yourself at the foot of the Zoncolan!
Situated in the far northeast of Italy, you can approach the Zoncolan from the toughest west side on ROUVY from Ovaro. Read all about one of the steepest climbs in Italy on ROUVY so close to Slovenia.
The highly popular Vršič Pass, located in the Triglav National Park, in the far northwest, near the border of Italy, is Slovenia's highest alpine pass and the highest pass in the Eastern Julian Alps, with over 26 numbered hairpin bends through beautiful scenery. You'll ascend through thick forests and green mountain pastures, with magnificent views on Slovenia's most popular and historic mountain pass from the Trenta side through the picturesque Soča Valley beginning in Bovec.
During WWI, the pass was hand built with cobblestones, but now cobbles only on the bends in the hairpins snaking up the north side (from Kranjska Gora) remain. Pace yourself conservatively for the first 21km because the final kilometres are tough!
Once you are finally at the summit of the Vršič Pass, in real life, you can descend over the other side and extend your virtual trip and do some exploring and climbing in Austria, which is only 7 km from the alpine resort of Kranjska Gora, and near the magnificent mountains and glacial lakes of Triglav National Park. Further into Austria, you can climb a pass in the Salzburger Lungau and Carinthian Biosphärenpark Nockberge UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and ride over the brutal Eisentalhöhe, a climb of two parts with its numerous steep hairpin bends averaging 8-9%. The goal of this biosphere reserve is for humans to live in a symbiotic and harmonious relationship with nature.
You can create your very own virtual cycling Tour of the Julian Alps (and neighbouring countries) on ROUVY and follow the footsteps of the young pros on these slopes that turned them into champions. Test yourself on these three memorable climbs in the Tour of Slovenia Challenge.
I want to take you on an extraordinary climbing journey! One that will make you feel as though you are outdoors in nature, exploring climbs in Europe. These selected climbs provide exciting insights, background stories, and historical myths and legends to read before you start that will add to your immersive riding experience.
Have you ever wanted to plan a bucket list trip to travel to far-flung destinations worldwide with your bicycle but haven't had the opportunity? Or do you have plans to travel abroad and conquer a few iconic climbs in real life and would like to do enough training preparation and get a realistic sense of what to expect?
On ROUVY, there are many unique and magnificent coastlines around the world just waiting to be explored. In this article, I'll suggest a few famous European coastlines you can ride on your trainer to soak up each shoreline's unique and natural characteristics and beautiful scenery and 'smell and feel' the sea breeze along the water's edge. Let's take you on vacation!