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Professional cycling is a fully international sport with countless nationalities of riders members of the WorldTour and Pro Continental ranks. However clusters of riders are centred in various locations, including Monaco, Andorra, Lucca, and Colorado.
One of the biggest hotbeds is in the small Spanish city of Girona, an hour northeast of Barcelona. Over 120 pro men and women are based there during the season, making the most of the city’s many advantages as a location. But what makes it such a great spot for professional racers?
In this edition of the CyclingTips podcast, news editor Shane Stokes travels to Girona to find out more about this cycling hotbed, beginning with local lawyer Andreu Garriga, who works with the Cannondale-Drapac team and others. He explains the origins of Girona as a big base, including the reasons behind the decision of Lance Armstrong and the US Postal Service team to relocate there in the late 1990s.
Other voices include professionals such as Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo) Nathan Haas (Team Dimension Data), Chloe Hosking (Wiggle-High5), Rory Sutherland (Movistar), and Orica-BikeExchange’s Christian Meier who, together with his wife Amber, have set up two businesses in the town and are working on their third.
Each rider helps illustrate what makes Girona so ideal for professional riders and visiting amateurs and what appears to be a very bright future ahead for the city — with several factors suggesting that it could become even more important in the years to come.
Follow the links below to listen to this podcast on the platform of your choice: