Manresa, European City of Sport, will host the big start of the Volta Catalunya
February 2 nd 2024 - 12:01 [GMT + 1]
On June 7, the city of Manresa will focus the sporting protagonism hosting the grand start of the Volta Ciclista Catalunya, in the premiere of the women's race as a stage race. In the year of promotion to the international category UCI 2.1 of the race, the start of the Volta Catalunya will be one of the major sporting events that the capital of Bages will include in its acts as "European City of Sport 2024", continuing the link with one of the most historically present venues in the Volta.
The Volta Ciclista Catalunya will live a luxury start of its women's race next Friday June 7 from Manresa. It will be a first stage with start and finish in the capital of Bages, in which the city and its region will shine in a special way. Manresa has recently been recognized as European City of Sport 2024, an international recognition that values the sporting virtues of the city. A special year for the capital of Bages, that will include the great start of the race as one of the main sporting events that will be experienced throughout 2024. The award, granted by ACES Europe (the Association of European Capitals and Cities of Sport) will represent for the city, a boost to continue promoting the practice of sport among its citizens.
The link between Manresa and the Volta Ciclista Catalunya is extensive and it can boast of having hosted the start or finish of a stage of the men's race up to 93 times, being the second most visited city in the history of the race after Barcelona. The first occasion dates to 1912, while the second time the city saw the final winner of that edition, Josep Magdalena, win. Since then, in its many visits, Manresa has been both the starting venue (1970, in the emblematic 50th edition, and 1991, a team time trial won by the ONCE team) and the finishing venue (1969, 1974 and 1981) of the race, Manresa has seen great names in the history of cycling and the Volta such as Mariano Cañardo, Delio Rodríguez, Miquel Poblet, Jan Janssens, Domingo 'Txomin' Perurena, Bernard Thévenet or Sean Kelly win on the forty-nine occasions on which it has hosted a stage finish. The last time Manresa hosted a finish of the Volta Catalunya was in 2021, in the historic 100th edition, with victory for the German Lennard Kämna, stage winner in the three grand tours.
For its part, as a stage start venue, Manresa has hosted the race up to thirty-nine times, the last of them in 1995. With a population of around 80,000 citizens, the capital of Bages and Central Catalonia is in the heart of Catalonia. Located in the Pla de Bages, very close to the confluence of the rivers Llobregat and Cardener, make it the junction point between the transverse shaft and the Llobregat shaft. The city has an important cultural and artistic heritage, with emblems such as the Basilica of La Seu de Manresa, one of the most important Gothic testimonies of Catalonia, or the new Baroque Museum of Catalonia, which will be inaugurated this February. It also highlights its modernist route, which allows visitors to learn about the contemporary history of the city, as well as the legacy based on the stay of Ignacio de Loyola in Manresa, whose 500th anniversary was commemorated in 2022.
The Manresa City Councilor for Sports and Health, Anjo Valentí Moll, said he was "very pleased to be able to host the start and finish of the women's Volta, in a year in which women's sport is being promoted more than ever", and assured that this is "a great opportunity to keep the name of Manresa on the map of major sports cities: Our will as European City of Sport is to further promote popular sport and physical activity; we want to make a more active society, and hosting major events like the Volta links us directly to the promotion of sport, which we want to be open to everyone."
Rubén Peris, president of the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya has highlighted the strategic positioning of Manresa as a great starting point for the race. "In a decisive year for the women's race, thanks to the promotion to the UCI 2.1 category that will allow us to enjoy three days of the best international cycling, Manresa represents an unbeatable starting point. Its location in the center of Catalonia and the facilities that the city has offered us will make us live a first stage of luxury. From the Volta a Catalunya we want to congratulate Manresa for its commitment to be European City of Sport, a great initiative for the sport in our country thanks to which we can promote events of the projection of the Volta and project Manresa in the world".
With a total of three stages among which has already been announced a high altitude finish at the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya station in La Molina, the 2024 edition of the Volta a Catalunya promises a demanding and exciting route between June 7 and 9. Now, with the start from a historic venue like Manresa, the race takes on a new dimension in an important year for the capital of Bages, which will concentrate important sporting events as European City of Sport.