Vitoria-Gasteiz > Saint-Sébastien
02/07/2023 - Etapa 2 - 209 km - Media montaña
Por el camino
AUTONOMOUS COMMUNITY OF THE BASQUE COUNTRY
Provinces: Alava, Vizcaya and Guipuscoa.
Population: 2.2 million
Area: 7,234 km2
Specialities: Biscayan cod, cod al pil-pil, choricero (pepper), Guernica beans, marmitako (a kind of tuna bouillabaisse). Pisto a la bilbaina (ratatouille with egg and ham). Txakoli (wine). Perretxikos (mushrooms). Goxua (custard cake). Vitoria-style beans, fried vegetables, fried peppers, dried beans known as "pochas". The Rioja region of Alava produces wines protected by the Rioja designation of origin. Pintxos (tapas). Kokotxa (hake jowl in green sauce). Idiazabal cheese, guindillas from Ibarra, anchovies à la donostiarra with garlic, fresh fish, Tolosa beans. Txangurros (spider crabs). Idiazabal (cheese). Cider from Astigarraga.
Sports clubs: Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Deportivo Alaves (football). Saski-Baskonia (basketball, two-time Euroleague finalist). Bera Bera Rugby.
Competitions: Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2023. Clasica San Sebastian. Tour of the Basque Country. Basque Pelota. Ironman of Vitoria-Gasteiz. Surfing. Behobia - San Sebastian (foot race).
Economy: Shipbuilding, services, high technology (Bizkaia Technology Park), port activities (first port on the north coast of Spain), banking (BBVA headquarters), Iberdrola (electricity and gas). Fishing, agriculture, tourism. Automobile industry (Daimler Benz, Michelin, Daewoo). Agriculture. Beach tourism, congresses. Universities, shops. Cooperatives (Mondragon). Domestic appliances (Fagor). Metallurgy.
Culture: Guggenheim Museum, Fine Arts Museum. Aste Nagusia (August), commemoration of the foundation of the city of Bilbao (15 June). Azkena Rock Festival (June), International Games Festival (June), Vitoria Jazz Festival (July), Dia del Blusa (July), Fiestas de la Blanca (August). San Sebastian European Capital of Culture 2016. San Sebastian Film Festival (September), San Sebastian Jazz Festival (mid-July). Tamborrada (January). Feria, Donostikluba (electronic music). International Puppet Centre (Tolosa).
Sights: Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, Gaztelugatxe islet, Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, Vizcaya Bridge, Bermeo, Guernica, Guernica Tree.
PROVINCE OF ALAVA
Capital city : Vitoria-Gasteiz
Area: 3,037 km2
Personalities: Francisco de Vitoria (theologian monk, founder of international law), Andoni Zubizarreta (international goalkeeper of the Spanish football team, 126 caps). Joseba Beloki, Francisco Galdos, Igor and Alavaro Gonzalez de Galdeano, Javier Mauleon (cyclists). Iker Romero (handball). Martin Fiz (world marathon champion in 1995). Ernesta de Champourcin (poet). Ramiro de Maeztu (writer). Manuel Iradier (explorer).
Specialities: Perretxikos (mushrooms). Goxua (custard cake). Vitoria-style beans, fried vegetables, fried peppers, dried beans known as "pochas". The Rioja region of Alava produces wines protected by the Rioja designation of origin.
Sports clubs: Saski-Baskonia (basketball, two-time Euroleague finalist). Deportivo Alaves (football, first division).
Events: Vuelta, Tour de France 2023, Ironman of Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Festivals: Azkena Rock Festival (June), International Games Festival (June), Vitoria Jazz Festival (July), Dia del Blusa (July), Fiestas de la Blanca (August),
Economy: automotive industry (Daimler Benz, Michelin, Daewoo). Agriculture.
Websites and social networks: https://web.araba.eus/eu/home / https://alavaturismo.eus/es/
Elburgo/Burgelu is home to many historic buildings, starting with the 13th-century church of Nuestra Senora de la Natividad in Anua, which combines medieval and Romanesque styles. It has remarkable 16th-century grisaille paintings on the vaults. The Larrea Palace, located in Argomaniz, deserves special attention. The façade of this Renaissance treasure is decorated with the Larrea family coat of arms. Today, this beautiful building is a Parador (luxury hotel). From the top of the palace, visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the Alava plain. The hermitage of San Juan de Arrarain, a temple with interesting sculptures on its capitals, is also worth mentioning. It is one of the oldest Romanesque hermitages in Alava and forms part of the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela starting in Bordeaux. In Elburgo/Burgelu, one of the most significant monuments of Romanesque art in Alava can be seen perched on a hill: the monastery of Estibaliz.
Monastery of Estibaliz
Construction: 11th to 13th century
Characteristics: at the top of a steep promontory, it is located almost in the centre of the Alava plain, from where it dominates a vast expanse of countryside. Partly destroyed by the action of time and men during the continuous civil wars, which damaged its decorative part, its remains are of great archaeological value. Its simple plan crowned by three apses, its columns decorated with curious historiated capitals, the baptismal font and the stone façade of the altar of Christ show details that date its construction to the Visigothic period. The door of the church is known as the Puerta Speciosa, or precious door, due to the bas-reliefs and sculptures that adorn it.
History: protected by the House of Haro, more precisely by Toda Lopez, it is a reminder of the power of the noblewomen of the time. In 1138, the monastery was ceded to the Cluniac monks of Najera, who kept it until 1431 and sold it to Don Fernan Pérez de Ayala, son of the famous chancellor of King Henry of Castile, Don Pedro Lopez de Ayala. In 1542, Don Atanasio de Ayala, his heir, donated the monastery to the Hospital de Santiago of the city of Vitoria, which gave it to the province of Alava on condition that it be restored.
Listing: property of cultural interest. Artistic and historical monument since 1931.
The town is part of the Salvatierra community of municipalities. Among the emblematic places in the area is the Garaio Provincial Park, with beaches suitable for swimming. Likewise, the Mendixur Bird Park allows nature and animal lovers to contemplate a multitude of aquatic birds and other varied species. The church of San Juan Bautista and the Isasmendi Palace in Ozaeta are among the most outstanding buildings.
A large part of the territory of Arrazua-Ubarrundia is located on the banks of the Ullibarri-Ganboa dam, which controls the flow of the Zadorra and provides water and electricity to the cities of Bilbao and Vitoria-Gasteiz. Among its most interesting monuments and buildings are the Romanesque church of San Esteban in Durana, as well as the churches of Arzubiaga, Betolaza and Ullibarri-Ganboa, and the 17th and 18th century Zurbano manor houses, owned by important families in the region. Upstream of the reservoir there are bathing and water sports facilities.
The Ullibarri-Gamboa lake has three beaches where visitors can sunbathe, swim or simply enjoy the silence and beauty of a sunset. These beaches, whose quality is attested to by the presence of the Blue Flag, belong to the Garaio and Landa Provincial Parks and offer different services. The location of the lake in a transitional zone, straddling the oceanic influence and the continental climate of the interior, favours biodiversity and, in particular, the presence of species from all kinds of environments.
Aramaio is located at the crossroads of three historic territories in the Basque Country: Alava, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa. In addition to the beautiful landscape, there are many buildings worth seeing, such as the Aurtola forge and the Salturri Basque farmhouse, which are listed as architectural heritage sites. In addition, there are several churches, hermitages and other buildings that make up a rich historical and cultural heritage. The proximity of the Ullibarri-Ganboa and Urrunaga reservoirs makes it possible to practise numerous water sports.
PROVINCE OF GUIPUSCOA
Capital: Donostia (San Sebastian)
Area: 1,909 km2
Personalities: Maria Christina of Austria (Queen of Spain), Alfonso XIII (King of Spain). Cristobal Balenciaga (fashion designer). Abraham Olano, Jose Luis Arrieta, Pello Ruiz Cabestany, Chente Garcia Acosta, Domingo Perurena (cyclists). Aritz Aranburu (surfing). Aritz Aduriz (football, Spanish international), Mikel Arteta (football, Arsenal coach), "Txiki" Begiristain (sports director of Manchester City). Pio Baroja (writer). Paco Ibanez (musician). Eduardo Chillida (sculptor).
Specialities: Pintxos (tapas). Kokotxa (hake jowl in green sauce). Idiazabal cheese, guindillas from Ibarra, anchovies à la donostiarra with garlic, fresh fish, Tolosa beans. Txangurros (spider crabs). Idiazabal (cheese). Cider from Astigarraga.
Culture and festivals: San Sebastian European Capital of Culture 2016. San Sebastian Film Festival (September), San Sebastian Jazz Festival (mid-July). Tamborrada (January). Feria, Donostikluba (electronic music). International Puppet Centre (Tolosa).
Sports: Real Sociedad (football), Bera Bera Rugby, surfing.
Events: Clasica San Sebastian, Tour of the Basque Country (cycling), Behobia-San Sebastian (running).
Economy: seaside tourism, congresses. University, shops. Cooperatives (Mondragón). Domestic appliances (Fagor). Metallurgy.
Websites and social networks: www.gipuzkoa.eus
Arrasate in Basque (Mondragon in Spanish) is the central headquarters of the Basque cooperative movement Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa (Mondragon Group) and one of the main industrial centres in the Basque Country, as well as the headquarters of the University of Mondragon. The Mondragon Group, founded in 1956 by Basque priest José Maria Arizmendiarrieta, has become the largest cooperative in the world. It is the leading Basque industrial group, the seventh largest in Spain, and employs more than 30,000 people. A subsidiary of Mondragon, the Fagor group, which specialises in household appliances and is also based in Arrasate, sponsored a cycling team from 1985 to 1989, whose leaders were Stephen Roche, Jean-René Bernaudeau and Sean Yates. Its old quarter, surrounded by walls, is home to several remarkable buildings: the church of San Juan Bautista, the Baroque town hall, the convent of San Francisco (now a cultural centre) and the palaces of Okendo and Artazubiaga. Two riders born in Arrasate/Mondragón have participated in the Tour de France: Ivan Velasco (2011 and 2012) and Enrique Alonso Casado (1992).
Onati (Ognate in French) was a seigniorial town that became a county. It was not incorporated into the province of Gipuzkoa until 1845. The current International Institute of Sociology of Law was the first university in the Basque Country and was established in the town in 1543. The city has a rich Renaissance heritage as a result of its county and university past. A land of conquistadors, Ognate is also a cycling town, where the Onati Proba, an important race in the Basque calendar, is held every year. The Tour of the Basque Country has also stopped here five times. The World Cyclo-cross Championships were held here in 1953. Among the riders born in Onati, the best known is undoubtedly Markel Irizar, who was a professional from 2004 to 2019 and took part in the Tour de France six times. He is now sports director at Trek-Segafredo. Another local rider, Jon Odriozola, rode the Tour four times between 1997 and 2001.
Sancti Spiritus University
Construction: 1540 to 1543.
Characteristics: Renaissance building from the 16th century, built in 1540 in the Plateresque style by Bishop Rodrigo Mercado de Zuazola, considered one of the most important in the Basque Country in this style. The cloister, the hood and the Mudéjar art stand out in the interior. The building is the work of master builder Domingo de la Carrera and French sculptor Pierre Picart, originally from Péronne. The university was kept active from 1543 until 1901. Specialised in theology and law, it was reserved for Catholics only until 1869.
Current purpose: the historic university building has been home to the International Institute of Sociology of Law since 1989.
Listed as an artistic and historical monument in 1931.
Legazpi has been one of the Basque Country's metalworking centres for centuries. Forges have been found here since the early Middle Ages. The Mirandaola foundry is the only one of the seven forges that existed in the town in the 16th century to have been preserved: it now serves as a museum of this industry. According to legend, it was in this foundry that the holy cross, the town's emblem, was miraculously made. Legazpi has been a stage town in the Tour of the Basque Country several times, where it has seen Miguel Indurain (1990) or Alberto Contador (2008) win.
Idiazabal is mainly known for its homonymous cheese. The town is the headquarters of the shepherds' association that groups together the producers of Idiazabal cheese. It is currently made in the Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre (except in the municipalities of the Roncal valley) with milk from Latxa and Carranzana sheep. It is a fatty cheese with a minimum maturation period of sixty days, weighing between 1 and 3 kg, pressed and uncooked. In 2004, Idiazabal accounted for 8% of PDO cheeses produced in Spain, in tons. It is not widely exported: of the almost 1,300 tons of Idiazabal marketed in 2004, 93% was destined for the Spanish domestic market. It is declared a European gastronomic heritage
It is the birthplace of Aitor "Txiki" Begiristain, an international winger for Real Sociedad and then for Barcelona under Johan Cruyff between 1988 and 1995 (22 caps for Spain). Technical director of Barça from 2003 to 2012, he has since held the same position at Manchester City.
The Basagain, Trikuazti and Illaun burial mounds demonstrate the ancient settlement of Beasain, which is famous for its morcillas. The monumental complex of Igartza is a tourist attraction. This medieval site consists of a palace built in the 13th century, a bridge, a wooden dam, a forge and a mill, among others. The nearby town centre also has various places of tourist interest, such as the church of Santa María de la Asunción, the Basilica of San Martín de Loinatz and the Nuestra Senora de Loinatz hermitage. The town has hosted the Vuelta in 1975 and the Tour of the Basque Country on four occasions, most recently in 2013, when Tony Martin won the final time trial and Nairo Quintana the race. In 1966, Beasain hosted the world cyclo-cross championship, won by Eric de Vlaeminck.
Igartza monumental complex
Construction: 16th century.
History: the Lords of Igartza were one of the most powerful families on the banks of the River Oria. Around their palace, they gathered all kinds of services to enhance their power. In addition to the lord's house at the entrance to Beasain, their possessions include a hermitage, a forge, a mill, an apple press, a dovecote, the cobbler's house, the blacksmith's house, etc. The palace is the most outstanding building in the whole of Igartza's monumental complex. It was built in the 16th century and is divided into two parts: the ground floor is built of masonry, while the upper part has a wooden structure.
Special features: restoration work has revealed some curious elements, including a horoscope written in the 15th century alphabet and a sentence from the same period citing the basic elements of life at the time.
Oridizia is the birthplace of Andrés de Urdaneta, a monk and navigator, who discovered the shortest sea route between Mexico and the Philippines, thus promoting the colonisation of the archipelago by the Spanish. Another native of the country, Luciano Montero was three times Spanish road champion in 1929, 1932 and 1934 and world championships silver-medallist in 1935 behind Belgian Jean Aerts. He took part in the 1934 Tour de France (30th). His brother Ricardo, also Spanish champion (in 1925), holds the record for victories (5) in the Ordizia Classic, a one-day race organised in the city since 1922. On the centenary of the race last year, Simon Yates won for the second time (after 2016). Alejandro Valverde, Laurent Jalabert, Marino Lejarreta, Joaquim Rodriguez or Neil Stephens are among the winners of this classic race, which takes place in July.
The village owes its reputation to one of its inhabitants, Migel Joakin Eleizegi (1818-1861), better known by his nickname the Giant of Alzo. It is believed that he was 2.42 m tall, as he kept growing until his death. He was very popular in his time, exhibited all over Europe and was received by Queen Isabella II of Spain and Queen Victoria of England, among others. Since his death, he has been remembered in the Basque Country, where his hometown is still associated with the figure of the Gigante. At the entrance to the Ipintza farmhouse, where he lived, there is a statue of him. The Subida a Altzo, a 5.2 km uphill time trial between Alegia and Altzo, was held every year at the end of July. Joseba Beloki or Andrey Amador were among the winners. It has not been held since 2015.
The city of Tolosa was founded in 1256 by Castilian king Alfonso X, who, in accordance with the custom of the time, named it after another town that already existed and was of great prestige, as was the case with the French city of Toulouse (Tolosa in Castilian). The ancient capital of Gipuzkoa was an important point of passage on the trade route that linked Navarre with the Cantabrian ports and for centuries it enjoyed many privileges. The old quarter bears witness to this glorious past. It is made up of narrow streets, distributed in parallel and separated by squares. The Santa María church, from the 17th century, is a fine example of Basque Gothic, with three naves, vaults and a beautiful Baroque façade. The church and convent of Santa Clara, the Baroque town hall, the palaces of Idiakez, Atodo, Aramburu and the Provincial Council, the Provincial Archives and Euskal Herria Square are just some examples of the city's rich heritage. Contemporary Basque art can also be found in Tolosa, in the form of outdoor sculptures. The city is also home to an international puppet centre, Topic, and is therefore twinned with the French puppet capital, Charleville-Mézières. On the culinary front, Tolosa is known for its beef ribs and dark beans, often accompanied by the hot peppers of Ibarra. Tolosa hosted the Vuelta three times in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the Tour of the Basque Country and two editions of the World Cyclo-cross Championship. It also organises the José Maria Anza Memorial every year at the end of June, a cycle race reserved for young cyclists and organised at the same time as the city's festivals.
Anoeta is the birthplace of Abraham Olano, world champion on the road in 1995, time trial champion in 1998 and winner of the Vuelta that same year. After starting out on the track, this outstanding rouleur established himself as the worthy successor of Miguel Indurain in 1995 by finishing second in the Tour of Spain behind Laurent Jalabert before becoming, a few weeks later, the first Spanish road world champion in Colombia, ahead of Indurain and Marco Pantani. Hired in 1997 by the Banesto team to succeed Miguel Indurain, he obtained his best result in the Tour de France that year, finishing 4th without having won the last time trial of that edition. If he won the Vuelta in 1998, he didn't return to the top level until 2001 when he joined the ONCE team and took second place in the Giro behind Gilberto Simoni. Abraham Olano has also won a Tour de Romandie and a Tirreno-Adriatico as well as six stages in the Tour of Spain, all of them against the clock.
Among the local celebrities is Julen Lopetegui, a former Spanish international goalkeeper who went on to become the coach of the Spanish national team (2016 to 2018) and then the short-lived coach of Real Madrid. Another native of the village, Bernardo Atxaga, is considered the greatest contemporary writer in the Basque language. The start and finish of the Aiztondo Kaliska, an amateur race, Asteasu also hosted the Tour of the Basque Country in 2001.
In 1968, Aduna was the site of the first murderous act of ETA, the assassination of a civil guard by two militants of the Basque independence organisation. The famous Valencian singer and musician Paco Ibanez spent part of his childhood in Aduna, where his mother was born. In 1998 he recorded an album of Basque songs he learned as a child: Oroitzen. In 2019, Aduna hosted a stage of the Emakumeen Euskal Bira, the great women's stage race of the Basque Country, wich Australian Amanda Spratt won.
Its old quarter lies on a small hill at the top of which is the main square of Urnieta, with some interesting buildings: the parish church of San Miguel Arcangel, after several restorations, preserves its primitive Romanesque limestone entrance and an 18th century sculpture of San Miguel. Not far away is the hermitage of Santa Leocadia, a witness to the uninterrupted flow of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela. In the Middle Ages, Urnieta was an important crossing point on the Jacobean route that passed through the interior of Guipuzcoa. The 17th-century Casa Consistorial (Town Hall) is located in the same square. The immediate surroundings are full of prehistoric sites, such as the Marizulo cave, where human remains have been found. Urnieta is the hometown of Mikel Iturria, winner of a stage in the 2019 Vuelta in Urdazubi. Another rider from Urnieta and member of the Euskaltel-Euskaldi team, the promising Mikel Alonso ended his career in 2021 after only three seasons in the pro ranks.
Located just 10 km from Donostia-San Sebastian, at the foot of Mount Santa Barbara, the town of Hernani, renowned for its artisanal cider, overlooks the fertile plain of the Urumea, the river that crosses the town from north to south. It is worth noting the presence of Basque houses, hermitages, churches and megalithic remains that have been listed as cultural assets. From the 20th century onwards, Hernani experienced the industrial development that characterises it today. Nevertheless, it has preserved an important heritage: the 16th-century parish church of San Juan Bautista, the Town Hall and the Gudarien Enparantza square, or the old Plaza Mayor, among others. Hernani is also an important site on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago de Compostela. Among the sites to visit is the museum dedicated to sculptor Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), located on the grounds of the Zabalaga estate: it consists of a 12-hectare garden with more than 40 monumental outdoor sculptures, a service area with an auditorium, a rest area and a shop, and the Zabalaga farmhouse, which houses the smaller works made of various materials. Before becoming a world-renowned sculptor, close to Picasso and Miro, Eduardo Chillida was a goalkeeper for Real Sociedad. An injury forced him to end his career. The town of Hernani may have inspired the name of the main character in Victor Hugo's play of the same name, as the French playwright lived in the Basque Country as a child. Hernani hosted the Vuelta in 1973 for the start of a stage won by Eddy Merckx.
Astigarraga is considered the capital of Basque cider. In fact, there are many traditional cider factories (sagardotegi in Basque) on its territory and the cultivation of the apple tree is particularly well regulated in order to preserve the originality of the town's cider. The Sagardoetxea (Cider House) in Astigarraga offers visitors the chance to discover the process of making this natural drink. This new museum includes an apple orchard, an interpretation centre and a tasting area. During the Middle Ages, the village was an important communication centre between Gipuzkoa, Spain and France. It is located on a little-used part Saint James’ Way. Astigarraga will once again become an important axis thanks to the project to build a new station for the high-speed train that will link Madrid to the French border.
It is one of the largest municipalities in Gipuzkoa. Part of its territory belongs to the Aiako Harria Natural Park, a natural area that contains the only granite massif in the Basque Country. The old part of the town is full of interesting buildings, among which two churches stand out: the parish church of San Esteban de Lartaun, with an altarpiece from the 17th century, and the Basilica of San Juan Bautista, from the 16th century. Oiartzun is at the heart of the Arditurri Greenway, which runs from Pasai Antxo and Lezo to Errenteria, and is only accessible to pedestrians and bicycles. Oiartzun is the birthplace of several great professional cyclists such as Domingo Perurena, who won the mountain classification of the Tour de France in 1974 and regularly wore the leader's jersey in the Vuelta during his 14 participations in the event, finishing second in 1975. A two-time Spanish road champion, he won no less than twelve stages in the Tour of Spain and two stages in the Giro. Another native of the city, Miguel Maria Lasa, won eleven stages in the three major Tours, including two in the Tour de France in 1976 and 1978. He won the points classification in the Vuelta in 1975 and finished on the podium four times in the Tour of Spain, without ever winning. Three times ranked in the top ten of the Giro, Miguel Maria Lasa obtained his best result on the Tour in 1974 (17th ). His older brother, José Manuel, took part twice in the Tour de France in 1967 and 1968. His son Gaizka was also a professional in the 2000s, where he rode alongside another child of Oiartzun, Iker Leonet. In 2007, the Tour of the Basque Country ended in Oiartzun with the overall victory of Juan Jose Cobo Acebo.
A border town, facing Hendaye on the other side of the Bidasoa River, Irun has thrived thanks to this border role and its position on the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago. With its 60,000 inhabitants and 2,000 years of history, the city is alive with gastronomic markets and popular cafés. The Pilgrim's Way to Santiago passes through Irun and is a good place to stop, for example at the Oiasso Roman Museum. Irun is the birthplace of Juan Manuel Garate, a stage winner in all three major Tours. Fifth in the Giro in 2005, the Basque climber won at the top of Mont Ventoux in the 2009 Tour de France. Another native of Irun, Jose Maria Errandonea, made Tour history by winning the first prologue at the start of the 1967 edition. Irun has hosted the Vuelta five times, including starts in 2020 and 2022.
Pheasant Island or Conference Island (in Basque: Konpantzia) is a small river island located on the Bidasoa River, near its mouth and Chingoudy Bay, on the French-Spanish border. The island has long been used for bilateral meetings between the French and Spanish authorities. Having the status of a condominium, it is administered alternately by France and Spain with a change of administration every six months. It is the only example in contemporary international relations of alternating sovereignty over the same territory. Access to it is forbidden to the public.
Oiasso Roman Museum
History: Underneath the present-day city of Irun lies the Roman colony of Oiasso. Located at the mouth of the Bidasoa River, on the border between Hispania and Aquitaine, Oiasso was, in ancient times, the port city of the Vascons. During the Roman Empire, as part of the province known as Tarracona, the town became an important centre of communications and trade in northern Hispania.
Features: inaugurated in 2006, the Oiasso Museum brings together the most remarkable archaeological remains from the Roman period found in the area as a result of excavations carried out in recent decades. The archaeological excavations have identified the port and its warehouses, the baths, the necropolis and the mining operations in the area.
Hondarribia (Fontarrabie in French) forms, together with Hendaye and Irun, the Bidasoa-Txingudi cross-border urban community. The walled town with its well-preserved heritage, the relaxing port atmosphere and the prestigious cuisine make this small seaside resort the tourist jewel of the region. Many young chefs trained by the best, such as Martín Berasategui and Pedro Subijana, have settled in Fontarrabía. The city also boasts a rich historical heritage, extremely well preserved with its fortified walls, the only ones preserved in the whole province of Guipuzcoa.
Mount Jaizkibel (Spanish: Monte Jaizquíbel) is the westernmost mountain of the Pyrenees. It is located just south of the French-Spanish border and overlooks the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay). Its highest point is a modest 545 metres. This is also the main difficulty of the San Sebastian classic.
It is the industrial port of San Sebastian. Victor Hugo stayed here in the Casa Gaviria in 1843. It was also in Pasaia that La Fayette embarked on his first trip to America on 26 April 1777 aboard La Victoire. It is also the birthplace of the recently deceased fashion designer Paco Rabanne. Another citizen of Pasaia, Mikel Astarloza, has participated in nine Tours de France and finished 9thin 2007. Inigo Chaurreau, a native of the town, has taken part in the Tour four times, finishing 12th in 2001.
A regular venue for the Tour of the Basque Country and the Vuelta, Vitoria-Gasteiz has already hosted the Tour de France, in 1977, for a stage won by Spaniard José Nazabal after a 110 km solo breakaway. The city has hosted the Vuelta on 21 occasions, mostly in the 1960s. But in the last edition, Vitoria-Gasteiz saw the start of a stage won in Laguardia by Primoz Roglic. The city's most famous cyclist is Joseba Beloki who, although born in Lazcano, some 60 kilometres away, grew up in Vitoria. The Basque rider has been on the podium of the Tour on three occasions, but never recovered his best level after a crash on the road to Gap in 2003.
Born in Vitoria, Francisco Galdos was also one of the greatest stage race specialists of the 1970s: second in the Vuelta in 1979 and in the Giro in 1975, he took part in the Tour de France eleven times, finishing 4th in 1977 and four times in the top ten. Born in Murgia, 20 km from the capital of the Spanish Basque country, Mikel Landa is also a local rider: the leader of the Bahrain-Victorious team has finished five Tours de France, twice just outside the podium. He finished third in the Giro d'Italia twice and won the mountain classification in 2017.
The capital of the Spanish Basque Country is also the home of the Gonzalez de Galdeano brothers, Igor and Alvaro. Igor, who finished 5th in the Tour de France in 2001 and 2002, also wore the Yellow Jersey for a week in the second year. He finished second overall and won a stage in the Vuelta. Alvaro also took part in the Grande Boucle four times between 1999 and 2003 and won a stage in the Giro and the Vuelta. The two brothers then led the Basque team Euskadi. Another local rider, Francisco Javier Mauleon, took part in the Tour de France six times and finished in the top 20 in 1992. He also won a stage in the Vuelta that same year.
Recibe información exclusiva del Tour de France