Croatia fans cycle all the way to Russia for World Cup

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KALININGRAD, Russia (AP) — Some soccer fans will follow their teams anywhere to see them play in the World Cup.

For five friends from Croatia that meant cycling 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) all the way from Zagreb to Kaliningrad in Russia.

The epic trek took them 15 days, cycling for 10 hours a day as they pedaled through Slovenia, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland.

On the way they encountered a number of challenges including a broken bridge. As they reached their final destination, the group collapsed into a bar and celebrated with a well-earned drink.

They’re now looking forward to Saturday’s game between Croatia and Nigeria.

Frane Lukovic, a 46-year-old lawyer from Zagreb, insisted it was nothing out of the ordinary for long-distance cyclists such as himself.

“I’m planning my world tour, so this is just preparation for it,” he said.

For Lukovic, the trip represented a personal comeback, having been diagnosed with skin cancer six years ago.

“A lot of people call us crazy, but we are just regular guys who choose cycling as our hobby, and we think about ourselves that it is possible to do this, and we did it,” he said.