The cycling Spring season is about to kick start and what are you waiting for? Have you already planned your next holiday ride?
It's easy to understand why cyclists love Spain as a holiday destination. Warm weather, perfect curvy roads and mountains make the country a go-to for cycling pros and amateurs. Here, Laka fellas share cycling hotspots in Spain that you can’t miss!
Girona by Andy Thornley
The best thing about Girona is the fact it is almost the antithesis of what other cycle-tourist destinations are. It’s a small, fairly sleepy city to the northeast of Barcelona and situated close to the Pyrenees. Pro cyclists have based themselves there for many years now as they get to live their almost monastic existence out in a quiet place, with gorgeous roads just 15 minutes from the front door.
I was there most recently a few weeks ago and bumped into non-other than polka dot jersey holder Julian Alain Philippe tucking into his morning croissant in La Fabrica, a café set up by former Orica Green Edge rider Christian Meier. Christian has also two other premises in Girona; a small coffee shop called Espresso Mafia and a bike shop called Service Course.
Brit and former pro-David Millar is also based there and has used inspiration from the city in his Chpt3 clothing range, underlining its charm and understated role as home of the pro-peloton. Namibian Olympian and all-around nice guy, Dan Craven, recently responded to an Instagram story I posted with restaurant recommendations for the evening. It’s the type of place where the pros can feel part of a community and as long as you’re not a douche-bag, you can, for a few days at least, be a part of that same community. If you’re looking for somewhere understated where you just get on your bike and ride without a fuss, this is the place for you.
In terms of riding, there are loads to choose from. Els Angels (pronounced almost like Hell Angels), is a decent climb not far out of the City and is a route that you regularly see pros heading up. There are some lovely coastal roads out which take you to the seaside town of Tossa del Mar. When it’s warm and sunny, you can mingle with sunbathers and tourists on the beach before riding home. But it would be remiss of me not to single out Rocacorba as the ride you really should do before you head home.
There’s an urban legend that Lance Armstrong discovered it when he was training for the Tour and convinced the local authorities to tarmac it, but that has since been rubbished. It is, however, known for being one of the places riders preparing for the Tour de France head to in order to test their legs before the racing starts.
In terms of tarmac; it’s not as pleasant as other roads. In fact, you should take care when descending it as there are crack, lumps and bumps. What it does give you though is 10.7km on the road at an average of 6.9%<https://veloviewer.com/segment/686229/Rocacorba> – ramping up to 12% by the end. The finish is next to two radio towers and is marked by a line with the initials VCRC – Velo Club Rocacorba, an invention of aforementioned David Millar. Don’t be fooled though, Strava has the finish ever so slightly further up so to make sure you bag the best time you can for the segment, carry on for a little further.
Be sure to visit Banyoles, which is aside from a lake on the near Rocacorba. Here you’ll find plenty of water-side cafes and it’s a nice place for a stop either before or after the climb. You also have the Rocacorba food truck located on the slopes not far from the summit.
After travelling to some of the best cycling destinations in Europe, including Tenerife, Mallorca and Tuscany, Girona wins my vote every time!
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