Lord knows that the medieval town of Girona, 100km north of Barcelona near the French border is famous for cycling. Up to 50 pro riders (men, women, triathletes) from all over the world have made Girona their training base in Europe and, after you’ve visited, it’s not hard to see why.
Whether you want to ride in the many, many hills, whether you want to strike out for the mountains in the Pyrenees or whether you want to ride to get an ice cream on the beach on the Costa Brava which is 40 kilometres east, Girona offers all those possibilities.
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And now, with the support of the local council, local bike hire shop and social hub (ouch) Bike Breaks is organising a Festival which will incorporate an individually timed 10km hill climb up Els Angels (used in the Volta Catalunya stage race), a nocturne around Girona’s beautiful old town and a 125km Gran Fondo which, mercifully, will not include the infamous pro training hill, Rocacorba.
The organiser is Bike Breaks, run by husband and wife team Dave Welch and Saskia Van Vuuren. “Girona has been getting more and more popular with British riders, particularly since Ryanair and Easyjet fly to Girona, so we thought we organise an event, although obviously it’ll be an international affair. The council is right behind it too and there will be a bit of an expo and a pre-ride pasta party as well,” explained Welch.
Given the number of road pros who are based there, there’s a fair chance that a few might ride round. “We get a lot of them in the shop,” added Welch, “and although it’ll depend on their race programmes, I’m sure a few will be about. There are a lot of women pros here and most of the time we get couples who want to ride, but if you want to come and sight-see, there’s plenty for a non-riding partner to do as well.”
For more information and to sign up, contact www.gironagranfondo.com or check out www.gironacyclecentre.com if you don’t want to bring a bike you can always hire a Cannondale, since the company is backing the event.