Cycling in Catalonia
The popularity of cycling in Catalonia, just like the rest of Europe, started during the last two decades of the 19th century. The very first cyclist club was called "Velocipčdic of Barcelona" and was founded in 1884, which led to the creation of the Sport Ciclista Catalā. Nine years later the Bonanova velodrome was created which measured a total of 400 meters and during that period in time was regarded to be one of the finest in Europe. Two years after that, the Reus velodrome followed and the Lleida velodrome in 1896.
1897 was the founding year of the Catalan Cycling Union, which governed all cycling activities throughout Catalonia. In 1911, the famous Volta a Catalunya was born, and is the third oldest cycling race worldwide, after the Giro d'Italia race which was organized for the first time in 1909, and the legendary Tour de France, which is the oldest with its creation in 1903. Other well known Catalonian cycling races are Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme and Escalada a Montjuīc, which started in 1963 and 1965.
Volta a Catalunya
One of the most popular Catalonian road bicycle races, which is held every year is the Volta a Catalunya. It the second most popular cycling race in Spain, rivaled in popularity only by the Vuelta a Espaņa. Due to the period the race was organized in, which was after the Giro d'Italia was held, it used to be regarded as the most important race for cyclists to prepare themselves for the Tour de France. When the race became part of the ProTour, this date shifted to May, making it a rival for the popular Italian Giro, which has turned out to be a very unfortunate change. For the current edition of the race a new date was announced moving it up to the end of March, which was the date for the Setmana Catalana.
Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme
The Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme in Catalan used to be one of the most important Spanish bicycle races that were organized every year in Catalonia. In 2005 it was held for the last time, and was removed from the UCI Europe Tour schedule in 2006.
Escalada a Montjuīc
Organized since 1965 as a 2 stage cycling race The Escalada a Montjuīc is one of the oldest cycling races that are organized in Barcelona, Spain. The race is held halfway through October and is one of the last races of the cycling season in Europe. The race became a part of the UCI Europe Tour in 2005 and is hosted by Esport Ciclista Barcelona. The race has many varieties, ranging from races for veterans and elite riders, but also women and new riders can enter in one of the variants. The race for the pro riders is divided into 2 stages. The first part covers 5 rounds on a course that equals 5 km., the second part consists of a time race through 10km of Montjuīc.