Girona Cycling Festival launches for 2018
Week-long festival includes a hill climb, nocturne, gran fondo and daily group rides
It's little surprise more than 80 professional cyclists call the Catalan city of Girona home. The surrounding countryside is seemingly made for cycling, with everything from high mountains to breathtaking coastal roads - and the Girona Cycling Festival gives sportive riders the chance to sample the best of the area.
The week-long festival returns for the 2018 edition on June 11-17 and is centred around three events: a hill climb, twilight criterium and, the main attraction, a gran fondo.
The closed-road hill climb (June 12) takes place on the 10.4km climb of Els Angels, just a short ride from Girona city centre. With an average grade of three per cent, it's a relatively gentle way for riders to start the week and offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside from the hilltop monastery, where a post-ride pasta party will be held.
Meanwhile, the nocturne event (June 14) takes place on a 1.5km cricuit in the heart of Girona's medieval old town and includes a timed cobbled climb in the shadow of the city's cathedral. Riders will have an hour to produce their five best 'laps', while there will also be a prize for the fastest 'lap'. The post-event party will include a BBQ and beers.
The Girona Gran Fondo (June 16) concluces the week and takes in a rolling 125km course - with the option of Girona's iconic Rocacorba ascent, a favourite training climb of the local pros.
All riders will roll out together, where there will then be the option to take a diversion to tackle the out-and-back climb, before rejoining the main route. Riders who complete Rocacorba, a 13.8km ascent with a deceiving average gradient of 6.5 per cent, will ride 142km in all.
The festival is organised by Bike Breaks Girona and, besides the three main events, shop rides for all abilities will be held throughout the week.
Entries are now open for the festival's gold and silver packages, which include entries to all events and a range of additional benefits, from a ride with local pros to massage. Individual event entries will open at a later date. See the Girona Cycling Festival website for more information and to enter.