The first cycling club in Catalonia, Velocipedic of Barcelona, was founded in 1884 which led to the establishment of the Esport Ciclista Catalan. Nine years later the 400m Bonanova velodrome was built and was regarded as Europe’s finest. There followed the Reus velodrome and then the Lleida velodrome in 1896.
In 1897 the Catalan Cycling Union was set up to govern all cycling activities in the region. 1911 saw the birth of the famous Volta a Catalunya, the third-oldest stage race, after the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia, which now occupies the date in the calendar of another Catalan race, La Setmana Catalana de Ciclismo which started in 1963. The other well-known race from the region was the Escalada a Montjuic which commenced in 1965.
The Volta a Catalunya is the next test for those seeking fame in this year’s Grand Tours. Like a number of the Spanish events this year, there was initially some doubt as to whether or not there would be sufficient funds to hold the race. But the piggy banks have been raided, it’s firmly on the calendar and its licence has been extended through to 2016.
It’s a WorldTour event, ranking second in popularity in Spain behind the Vuelta a Espana, and is the third-oldest stage race in the world (1911), after the Tour de France (1903) and Giro d’Italia (1909). Continue reading →
Welcome to our preview of what’s happening in the world of road cycling in March. With the Classics season getting under way last weekend with races such as Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne and the GP di Lugano, not to mention stage races such as the Tours of Qatar and Oman and the Volta ao Algarve earlier in February, the 2012 season is now in full flow.