Why base a US team in Spain?

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Mar 17, 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.
I think you'll find that many of the non-Spanish riders who are based in Girona take the trouble to learn Spanish. They are in that very small percentage of Americans who actually have a passport and don't think Venice, Paris & The Pyramids are in Vegas!

Which would you prefer - training in freezing Belgian rain & wind or training in sunny temperate Spain? Not difficult at all!
 
Jul 6, 2010
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ultimobici said:
I think you'll find that many of the non-Spanish riders who are based in Girona take the trouble to learn Spanish. They are in that very small percentage of Americans who actually have a passport and don't think Venice, Paris & The Pyramids are in Vegas!

Which would you prefer - training in freezing Belgian rain & wind or training in sunny temperate Spain? Not difficult at all!
I actually don't mind 5C and rain. Makes me feel like a man. Plus the 'cross season is pretty wicked ground-work...
 
Mar 17, 2009
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JMBeaushrimp said:
I actually don't mind 5C and rain. Makes me feel like a man. Plus the 'cross season is pretty wicked ground-work...
Yeah, but you're Old Skool! You'd be chomping at the bit to move North to Kortrijk.

Reminds me of a story I heard a while back. Young US based pro/elite rider is out riding with a 7-11 or Motorola rider in California in January. It starts to spit with light rain and he asks the Slurpie guy "So, what time of year would this be like in Belgium?" Slurpie replies, "June":D
 
Apr 13, 2010
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BotanyBay said:
If you've got a s****y place in Aspen...

...

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.
Before I read the last bit I added the letters "hitt" between your "S" and "Y"... With the result I didn't quite get your point at first :) Completely agree that the filter is over doing it...

Anyway, the speculating of Girona and doping is too much for me. Next we might as well speculate that the only reason they're riding bikes is because it makes it easier to dope... And the helmets are very suspicious too if you ask me!
 
May 26, 2010
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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.
your argument falls down as across the border in France the climate and culture is similar if not the same as Girona.

Lots of cyclists train in the Canaries during the winter for the mild climate, which is warmer than anywhere in Southern Europe. Isn't Vinokourov nt based on one of the islands during the winter?
 
pmcg76 said:
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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.
Many pros live/lived in Switzerland - Jalabert, Virenque, Ullrich just to name a few.

I would imagine taxes would be a principal reason, but also many of the same reasons as Girona (protection from anti-doping, airports, training etc.).

Switzerland is also central to many races in France, Italy, Belgium, Germany etc.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Benotti69 said:
your argument falls down as across the border in France the climate and culture is similar if not the same as Girona.
While the climate & culture are similar, the cost of living across the border goes up dramatically. Not a problem when you're an established rider but a bit of a headache for junior members of the team as well as the additional cost of property for the service course. Warehouse rent ain't cheap in the Cote d'Azure.
 
May 14, 2010
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I can understand why this was split off from the JV thread - though I'm not sure I agree with it, as we were discussing this - Girona - specifically in relation to JV - as in, why did he base his team there.

In any event, the thread title should read, "Why base a team in Girona?," not "a U.S. team" and not "Spain." Spain has nothing to do with it (it just happens to be the country Girona is "based" in :); and albeit a country notorious for doping in sport); and the self-proclaimed dope-free team (aren't they all?) just happens to be from the U.S.

The point, the question, the doubt-causing concern, is why would somebody like JV base his anti-doping team in the very place (Girona) where doping teams have historically been found? So far we've had some good answers and reasonable guesses, but Girona still casts a long shadow.
 
May 28, 2010
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Cost of living, anyone?

Spain has northern European countries beat wrt cost of living; that would be a big factor, IMO.

The islands (Canaries or Balearic) won't do logistically. You can drive from Girona, impossible from the Canaries and time consuming from Mallorca. And switching venues between off and on season runs a financial and logistical cost.

Not to mention, find a place and stick to it and it becomes home sweet home after a few years. Wasn't that one of the goals of Garmin, to make it feel more like a family?

Anyways, disregarding doping which we all know has been done everywhere:

tl;dr: cost of living (i.e. cheap) and logistically easy.
 
May 8, 2009
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Benotti69 said:
your argument falls down as across the border in France the climate and culture is similar if not the same as Girona.
I assume you have compared first hand the weather conditions of girona and anywhere north of the Pyrinees....the difference is huge. This is not a surprise though, southern and northern sides of a massive mountain range are clearly different often.
 
May 11, 2009
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JPM London said:
Anyway, the speculating of Girona and doping is too much for me. Next we might as well speculate that the only reason they're riding bikes is because it makes it easier to dope... And the helmets are very suspicious too if you ask me!
Very true. Doping is a BIG part of pro cycling, but it's actually not the only thing. Most competitive amateurs from UK, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands take in an annual week's training in the Balearics or mainland Catalunya - I wish I was there now instead of looking out at fog, rain and 2'C. Even if you're American you still want to be on the same timezone as your DS, coach (and doctors obv) and the rest of your teammates, plus your sponsors for equipment testing/fitting, most of your commercial engagements, paid appearances at crits etc. Easyjet from Girona to anywhere in Europe for about €50. Cote d'Azure is the obvious alternative of course, and the timeline of some people moving away from there is quite telling, but if you're starting up from scratch the economics of Catalunya is much better.

The only reason to stay up north is if you need to be racing for money all the time; if you're on a good contract and able to target specific races might as well go somewhere nice.
 
Jul 19, 2009
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khardung la said:
I assume you have compared first hand the weather conditions of girona and anywhere north of the Pyrinees....the difference is huge. This is not a surprise though, southern and northern sides of a massive mountain range are clearly different often.
The difference with is much less with the east part of french Pyrenees.
The Cote d'Azur provide the same advantage and it's not so expensive for riders living not near the coast... and avoiding roads full of cars!
 
Jun 13, 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 have. The hard men of the sport are all gone now . . . . and we are left with a munch of pansy-*** pseudo specialists racing. Sad, sad indeed.
 
sartain said:
I have. The hard men of the sport are all gone now . . . . and we are left with a munch of pansy-*** pseudo specialists racing. Sad, sad indeed.
Those hard men of the sport you're talking about would specialize too if they rode today. It has nothing to do with riders being pansies.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Maxiton said:
I can understand why this was split off from the JV thread - though I'm not sure I agree with it, as we were discussing this - Girona - specifically in relation to JV - as in, why did he base his team there.

In any event, the thread title should read, "Why base a team in Girona?," not "a U.S. team" and not "Spain." Spain has nothing to do with it (it just happens to be the country Girona is "based" in :); and albeit a country notorious for doping in sport); and the self-proclaimed dope-free team (aren't they all?) just happens to be from the U.S.

The point, the question, the doubt-causing concern, is why would somebody like JV base his anti-doping team in the very place (Girona) where doping teams have historically been found? So far we've had some good answers and reasonable guesses, but Girona still casts a long shadow.
But bearing in mind JV was based there in his early European career, it adds another reason to base his team there. Familiar surroundings, existing infrastructure (NON-DOPING) etc
 
Maxiton said:
The point, the question, the doubt-causing concern, is why would somebody like JV base his anti-doping team in the very place (Girona) where doping teams have historically been found? So far we've had some good answers and reasonable guesses, but Girona still casts a long shadow.
You keep saying doping teams have historically been found in Girona. What doping teams? Some of the riders from US Postal hardly constitutes doping teams.

As I pointed out before, guys like Vaughters, Hincapie, Jemison, Hamilton were based in Girona before 'Festina' happened so they were hardly there to avoid tougher doping laws in France which only came in a year later. Why did those guys pick Girona to live? I have no doubt Girona proved an ideal location for those who wanted to get out of France post Festina like Lance.

What people seem to be saying is that all pro cycling teams should be based in the south of France and that Garmin are based in Girona solely because of doping which ignores why guys went there in the first place. Why is Girona not a good place to base a cycling team? I have actually visited Girona and its a nice city and the weather was nice whilst I was there and that was in January. Seemed like an ideal place to base a team.
 
Oct 25, 2010
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I suppose there's really not much to "basing" a team out of anywhere in particular these days anyway. The riders usually fly to their races, so it doesn't matter where they live. I suppose they group themselves together so that they can speak English together and train together when they do stay in Europe.

I will maintain that the doping riders will tend to stay closer to their sources of supply / medical advisement, because post 9/11, smuggling this stuff through an airport is not easily done. And dopers will also tend to cluster together because so many of them are doing it without any "team organization" Once they find their "doc" they'll either have to source the medications on their own or they'll need to stay near him. We've seen Tyler's bill (not cheap) on Haven's fax, so with such a huge investment, you know they're probably willing to live closer to their docs.
 
Dec 18, 2009
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Girona is a Ryanair hub for loads of European locations.
Barcelona is a 50 minute drive away with International flights.
The roads are in incredible condition.
Rolling hills around Girona, lovely coastal roads, the Pyrenees 50k away.
Lots of pros live there - not just from Garmin and a very keen local cycling scene.
Go there and see for yourself.
 
Jul 2, 2009
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To paraphrase Monty Python's Life of Brian:

"All right, apart from the international airport, the good roads, the nice scenery, the easy access to the mountains, the low cost of living, the proximity to Barcelona, the existing cycling community, the favourable tax rate, the quality of life and the warm climate, what have the Gironans ever done for cyclists?"


It's obvious that they've only gone there for dope, because nobody elsewhere in Europe has ever managed to dope.
 
Mambo95 said:
To paraphrase Monty Python's Life of Brian:

"All right, apart from the international airport, the good roads, the nice scenery, the easy access to the mountains, the low cost of living, the proximity to Barcelona, the existing cycling community, the favourable tax rate, the quality of life and the warm climate, what have the Gironans ever done for cyclists?"


It's obvious that they've only gone there for dope, because nobody elsewhere in Europe has ever managed to dope.
Winner.

Please close thread now.
 
Aug 6, 2009
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BotanyBay said:
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?
It's logistically absurd if you want to be close to races.

It's not if you want to be near Dr. Fuentes.
 
May 14, 2010
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Berzin said:
It's logistically absurd if you want to be close to races.

It's not if you want to be near Dr. Fuentes.
Bingo. And that, at the very least, is the perception, for some of us, anyway. And it's the seed of doubt for many others. Sort of like the decision to hire Lim. It may be innocent, it may make sense, but it looks bad so why do it?
 

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