Why base a US team in Spain?

May 26, 2010
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I have yet to read whether anyone mentioned that Garmin are based in Girona and not say Perpignan (France, also close to the Pyrenees) the other side of the border.

Girona is suspected as being used by lots of teams as a base because it is in Spain, lax attitude to doping, close to the Pyrenees and easy to dope.
 
May 14, 2010
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Benotti69 said:
I have yet to read whether anyone mentioned that Garmin are based in Girona and not say Perpignan (France, also close to the Pyrenees) the other side of the border.

Girona is suspected as being used by lots of teams as a base because it is in Spain, lax attitude to doping, close to the Pyrenees and easy to dope.
Right, when I read this a few years back, I had a little episode of cognitive dissonance, as everyone knows Girona has historically been the base of doping riders and doping teams. How to square this with the team's dope-free ethos?

Then, later, a similar feeling occurred when this tribe of supposed reform agents tried to sign up Contador. But then I reasoned that if Garmin is going to participate in the sport they have to do so with the pool of pro riders that exists, and not the pool they might wish existed.

But that still doesn't explain Girona.
 
May 20, 2010
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It is a very nice place to live. That must be it. There are lots of farmacias, too.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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Benotti69 said:
I have yet to read whether anyone mentioned that Garmin are based in Girona and not say Perpignan (France, also close to the Pyrenees) the other side of the border.
I read somewhere (a few years ago) that the tax conditions for non-EU nationals (of which Garmin have several) are more favourable in Spain than France (maybe foreign EU nationals too). So that's a more likely reason.

(I don't have a source, and I may be wrong)
 
Oct 25, 2010
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Mambo95 said:
I read somewhere (a few years ago) that the tax conditions for non-EU nationals (of which Garmin have several) are more favourable in Spain than France (maybe foreign EU nationals too). So that's a more likely reason.

(I don't have a source, and I may be wrong)
Girona Spain is nowhere near where 90% of their races are held. Heck, most of em don't even race the vuelta.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
Girona Spain is nowhere near where 90% of their races are held. Heck, most of em don't even race the vuelta.
What has logistics to do with tax efficiency?
 
Oct 25, 2010
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ultimobici said:
What has logistics to do with tax efficiency?
Nothing. But the reason an American supposedly lives in Europe during the season is supposedly ALL about logistics. So why choose a place that is so logistically absurd?
 
Oct 25, 2010
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hrotha said:
How is it absurd? There's a nice international airport right there.
OK, "culturally" absurd. For the stars who generally only ride the larger tours, there's no reason that they need to live in Spain for long periods of time. A place where few speak English (compared to other places to the North). They can easily train in Colorado, NC, California, etc. That part of Spain is a place that an American "tolerates" not "welcomes". I'm sure they're there more for the pharmacy access and lax controls than the logistical advantages of Northeastern Spain.
 
BotanyBay said:
OK, "culturally" absurd. For the stars who generally only ride the larger tours, there's no reason that they need to live in Spain for long periods of time. A place where few speak English (compared to other places to the North). They can easily train in Colorado, NC, California, etc. That part of Spain is a place that an American "tolerates" not "welcomes". I'm sure they're there more for the pharmacy access and lax controls than the logistical advantages of Northeastern Spain.
A few points on Girona, some of the US Postal guys were living there before 99 and before 'Festina' so make of that what you will. Armstrong moved to Girona after 98.

Why live in Girona? Well as hrotha pointed out, there is an international airport there plus another major factor over places like Belgium, Netherlands etc is climate. Catalonia has a much better climate than those places for training etc. Catalonia also has mountains which again are absent in most of northern Europe.

There is also a cultural mindset difference between North & South. There was a French black comedy movie a few years back called 'Bienvenue a l'chtis' of which the premis was a French guy from Southern France who thought he was going to be fired from his job but instead gets a worse result that that, he is transferred to work in NE France!!! thats what people from southern Europe think of living in the North.

Back in the day, LeMond and many other English speakers lived in northern Europe but that was because of logistics as there was nowhere near the same network of cheap air transport as there is now. Why do so many US pros live in Colorado when most of the races are on the East or West Coast?

To be honest, for a number of reasons including doping, Switzerland would seem the most logical place to live but very few pros live there.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
To be honest, for a number of reasons including doping, Switzerland would seem the most logical place to live but very few pros live there.
If you've got a s****y place in Aspen, and you've got kids that you supposedly miss, I would think you'd spend more time there then in Spain. If you've got to go do TDSuisse or the Dauphine, you can always rent a house.

I think it has more to do with certain docs not wanting (or needing) to travel to see their patients. The patients are willing to come to them.

Remember, Lance didn't compete in Europe often enough to warrant flying back to Spain. For an extra 5 hours, he could see his own kids and chick du jour.

Wow, you Brits are sensitive about the term "_ank" (put a "w" in front). The word that got blocked actually had an "S" in front of it. There's a Hollywod actress named Hillary with the same last name. It means a nice home.
 
May 26, 2010
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pmcg76 said:
A few points on Girona, some of the US Postal guys were living there before 99 and before 'Festina' so make of that what you will. Armstrong moved to Girona after 98.

Why live in Girona? Well as hrotha pointed out, there is an international airport there plus another major factor over places like Belgium, Netherlands etc is climate. Catalonia has a much better climate than those places for training etc. Catalonia also has mountains which again are absent in most of northern Europe.

There is also a cultural mindset difference between North & South. There was a French black comedy movie a few years back called 'Bienvenue a l'chtis' of which the premis was a French guy from Southern France who thought he was going to be fired from his job but instead gets a worse result that that, he is transferred to work in NE France!!! thats what people from southern Europe think of living in the North.

Back in the day, LeMond and many other English speakers lived in northern Europe but that was because of logistics as there was nowhere near the same network of cheap air transport as there is now. Why do so many US pros live in Colorado when most of the races are on the East or West Coast?

To be honest, for a number of reasons including doping, Switzerland would seem the most logical place to live but very few pros live there.
Evans lives there:rolleyes:
 
BotanyBay said:
If you've got a s****y place in Aspen, and you've got kids that you supposedly miss, I would think you'd spend more time there then in Spain. If you've got to go do TDSuisse or the Dauphine, you can always rent a house.

I think it has more to do with certain docs not wanting (or needing) to travel to see their patients. The patients are willing to come to them.

Remember, Lance didn't compete in Europe often enough to warrant flying back to Spain. For an extra 5 hours, he could see his own kids and chick du jour.

Wow, you Brits are sensitive about the term "_ank" (put a "w" in front). The word that got blocked actually had an "S" in front of it. There's a Hollywod actress named Hillary with the same last name. It means a nice home.
Who exactly are we talking about here, Armstrong or Garmin riders. As far as I know it was Vaughters who 'discovered' Girona when he rode for a Spanish team. The US Postal riders who lived there first were Hincapie, Hamilton, Jemison, Hoj who spent more time racing in Europe than someone like Lance so running back and forth to the US every month wouldnt have made sense for them.

Who lives in Girona at the moment, Dan Martin, Dave Millar I know for sure both of whom are not from the US. I dont know what US riders are currently there.
 
Aug 13, 2009
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Johnny Weltz was living in Girona and a few of the guys joined him. Prior to that they lived in South of France or Como area

Lance and Johnny did not get along so he was let go. When the French got tough on doping Armstrong moved from Nice to Girona.
 
BotanyBay said:
If you've got a s****y place in Aspen, and you've got kids that you supposedly miss, I would think you'd spend more time there then in Spain. If you've got to go do TDSuisse or the Dauphine, you can always rent a house.

I think it has more to do with certain docs not wanting (or needing) to travel to see their patients. The patients are willing to come to them.

Remember, Lance didn't compete in Europe often enough to warrant flying back to Spain. For an extra 5 hours, he could see his own kids and chick du jour.

Wow, you Brits are sensitive about the term "_ank" (put a "w" in front). The word that got blocked actually had an "S" in front of it. There's a Hollywod actress named Hillary with the same last name. It means a nice home.
Are you seriously suggesting American riders would fly across the ocean on a regular basis during the season if it weren't for the dope?

Maybe jet lag does wonders to your training routines?
 
Oct 25, 2010
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hrotha said:
Are you seriously suggesting American riders would fly across the ocean on a regular basis during the season if it weren't for the dope?

Maybe jet lag does wonders to your training routines?
Have you not bothered to look at the schedules of the top riders lately? Especially the ones aiming for the Tour. Their racing calendars are getting smaller and smaller. Racing in Europe is becoming less "regular" and more "occasional".
 
Jul 6, 2010
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BotanyBay said:
Have you not bothered to look at the schedules of the top riders lately? Especially the ones aiming for the Tour. Their racing calendars are getting smaller and smaller. Racing in Europe is becoming less "regular" and more "occasional".
I know I'm old-school, but what happened to the belief that 'you can't train as hard as you can race'.

All this 'prep time' makes me suspect...
 
Oct 25, 2010
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JMBeaushrimp said:
I know I'm old-school, but what happened to the belief that 'you can't train as hard as you can race'.

All this 'prep time' makes me suspect...
Because, with a private coach on a motor scooter screaming at you to climb harder, and doing so in a location that makes the vampires not want to come follow you...you can get a lot done without the same risk of injury, you can train more according to your objectives, and you can do it in (almost) complete privacy.
 
BotanyBay said:
Have you not bothered to look at the schedules of the top riders lately? Especially the ones aiming for the Tour. Their racing calendars are getting smaller and smaller. Racing in Europe is becoming less "regular" and more "occasional".
Yes, I've checked. Guys like Armstrong and Horner had one or two one-month breaks during this season. Both came from one of their breaks at the Tour of California. The rest of the time they were racing in Europe. Guys like Farrar and Hesjedal had two or three breaks that lasted about three weeks at most, and they were riding in Europe (+Oman/Qatar) the rest of the season.

Riders like Armstrong and Horner could have used those breaks to go home, especially since they returned to racing at the Tour of California, but... are you sure they didn't go home? I'd bet they did.
 

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Aug 17, 2009
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There are reasons for living in Girona. Upscale lifestyle, authentic mid 1500 architecture,escalating real estate value, nice training grounds.But not as nice as San Sebastian Spain I have heard.
 
May 8, 2009
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Oh come on!. The region is gorgeous, the weather is better than in the south of France or the North of Italy (much better than anywhere in North Europe), one has the Pyrinees, plus coast, flat or rolling roads, cycling tradition... Barcelona is just there with a bussy international airport, or Girona airport for shorter flights within Europe.

These thing with the pharmacies and so on is non-sense. We live in the EU, there is free movement of people and goods. One can live in Paris and be in a pharmacy of Spain in a couple of hours, without any control or any need to show an ID. In fact anyone can buy any pharmaceutical product in any european country and send it by post with no problem to any other EU country.

If I would be a cyclist I would train in the winter in Spain, Portugal or the South of Italy. Portugal has the problem of worst communications. Italy has bussier roads and except in the very south more unpredictible weather. It is a no brainer.

PS: As for the one talking about San Sebastian as an alternative it is very rainy in all the North-West of Spain. The Mediterranean Arc (like in Girona) is much better.
 
khardung la said:
Oh come on!. The region is gorgeous, the weather is better than in the south of France or the North of Italy (much better than anywhere in North Europe), one has the Pyrinees, plus coast, flat or rolling roads, cycling tradition... Barcelona is just there with a bussy international airport, or Girona airport for shorter flights within Europe.

These thing with the pharmacies and so on is non-sense. We live in the EU, there is free movement of people and goods. One can live in Paris and be in a pharmacy of Spain in a couple of hours, without any control or any need to show an ID. In fact anyone can buy any pharmaceutical product in any european country and send it by post with no problem to any other EU country.

If I would be a cyclist I would train in the winter in Spain, Portugal or the South of Italy. Portugal has the problem of worst communications. Italy has bussier roads and except in the very south more unpredictible weather. It is a no brainer.

PS: As for the one talking about San Sebastian as an alternative it is very rainy in all the North-West of Spain. The Mediterranean Arc (like in Girona) is much better.
Sounds well reasoned and based in fact - Thanks for the local (EU) perspective and detail.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
OK, "culturally" absurd. For the stars who generally only ride the larger tours, there's no reason that they need to live in Spain for long periods of time. A place where few speak English (compared to other places to the North). They can easily train in Colorado, NC, California, etc. That part of Spain is a place that an American "tolerates" not "welcomes". I'm sure they're there more for the pharmacy access and lax controls than the logistical advantages of Northeastern Spain.
Outside of 2 or 3 guys, I don't know any riders who just ride the grand tours?

Training in the US makes absolutely no sense for a European-based rider. It's 2-3 days of training lost, each way, with the travel. So, there's nothing "easy" about training in Cali if you're racing in Europe. In the winter, sure, but not when the season starts.

I know plenty of the Girona guys, and to a man they really don't like it, and spend as much time stateside as they can. Still, when the racing season starts, they spend a lot of time there.

As far as "why Girona" for the Garmin guys, it's actually pretty simple. Lots of good training, lots of training partners, close to an airport, reasonably safe roads once you get out of town, and the biggest reason; there's already an infrastructure of riders/housing/team management there.

I'm sure you can find dope anywhere if you want it.
 
Jul 6, 2010
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BotanyBay said:
Because, with a private coach on a motor scooter screaming at you to climb harder, and doing so in a location that makes the vampires not want to come follow you...you can get a lot done without the same risk of injury, you can train more according to your objectives, and you can do it in (almost) complete privacy.
The 'privacy' and 'dottore' issues make sense. That's my point.

"In the old days" it was understood that you would never be able to train as hard as you would race, regardless of who's screaming in your ear.

I understand targeted schedules and training, but as soon as riders are dodging key parts of the season, my hackles start to rise. At that level, you can't miss racing for a month.

I love watching riders race a full season, you can see their annual form progress. That's why I'll always love the classic boys more than the GT boys. You can get involved with what they're keying on without the bull of the GT scene.
 

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