Girona is home to countless pros and for good reason. A combination of superb roads and a laid-back lifestyle make the Catalan city an ideal training base.
“An increasing number of pro riders are using Girona not only as an in-season base but also as a winter training location as well,” says David Welch of Bike Breaks Girona.
“Girona has low winter rainfall and relatively high temperatures meaning you can ride all year on the same quiet mountain roads as in the summer.”
However, Girona’s location in northern Spain means that riders seeking warm weather are best advised to wait until spring. The average daily high rises from 13 degrees in January to 18 degrees in April and 22 degrees in May.
“Although Girona is a year-round destination, the most interesting times of the year to visit are the spring and early summer (March to June), and autumn (September to November), with temperatures perfect for riding and the roads empty,” says Welch.
Girona is surrounded by superb climbs, including the renowned 13.8km ascent of Rocacorba, which has an average gradient of 6.5 per cent and sections of 10-15 per cent. Since being paved in 2006 it has become a popular test of form for Girona’s resident professionals but is only one of countless climbs to tackle in the area.
“Girona is a fairly unique place situated between the high mountains and the sea,” adds Welch, “meaning you have access to all types of riding, from the high mountain passes made famous by the Volta a Catalunya to stunning coastal rides along the beaches of the Costa Brava.”
Pro cyclists choose to make Girona their home not only because of the superb cycling on offer but also because of what the Catalonian city has to offer in itself, according to Welch.
“Girona is not a mass tourism destination,” he says, “so unlike Majorca, Girona does not close up in the winter. Girona is a buzzing university town all year round with many restaurants and bars for when you’ve finished on the bike.”
Pros: Varied terrain, lively city, close to Barcelona, spot a pro
Cons: Chilly early in the year, less training camp options than more established destinations