Mallorca has everything you need for a cycling tour and has become the training ground of choice of a few of the world's elite cycling teams.
Perhaps the most famous of all the professional riders to use the island as a training ground are Team Sky, but there are many others like Team GB, Omega Pharma Quick-Step and Movistar, One Pro Cycling, Canyon Sram women, Irish Track team and Trek-Segafredo, who come to Mallorca to take part in Challenge Mallorca, Mallorca's pro-cycling race and to run training camps on the island ahead of the season's big sportives.
It isn't every day you can share your training ground with the best cyclists in the world, but in Mallorca you can.
Hotels are usually closed in winter, as the season has yet to begin and temperatures are still low. But for the pro teams the island is perfect; the roads are mostly dry and empty of traffic, accommodation is plentiful if you can book an entire hotel for yourself, and the weather is temperate, not too hot, but a far cry from the icy wet climate in the north.
As the level of cycling goes up and the number of pro cyclists training in Mallorca increases, specialist sport and cycling hotels are becoming more readily available, with amenities and cycling based services, secure lock ups, Spa and gyms on the premises, access routes and ramps, accommodation and hotel buffet services customised to the cyclist's diet and needs.
Team Sky come every year to train on Mallorca's roads and their peloton can be seen hurtling up the steep mountain sides of the Tramuntana on early January mornings or late summer in September.
They block book an entire hotel in Alcudia, to accommodate trainers, chefs, mechanics and a team of riders and staff. Athletic performance trainers will split the team into smaller groups and plan drills based on the different rider's styles and training needs, so you are less likely to see the whole team out on the road at the same time, but can easily spot the subgroups, and even ride along behind.
"We’ve raced at the Playa de Palma Challenge before and are very excited to be back to test our riders on the Spanish island"
Other teams like Novo Nordisk will take part in the island's races as part of a bigger training programme. In this case they will take on the Playa de Palma Challenge, four consecutive, connected yet separate one-day races which amount to a total of 629km which takes place in late January. The four stages are a 168 kilometre Trofeo Porreres, Felanitx, Ses Salines, Campos. Then the 140 km Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, then the 160 km Trofeo Andratx-Mirador des Colomer., and finally the 161 km Trofeo de Palma-Palma.
The pros aren't coming here only for the sunshine, though a temperate Mediterranean climate does play a role.
The main reason Mallorca is increasingly popular with the top cycling teams is because this small island with a huge international airport has the most mind boggling extremes in terrain.
The Serra de Tramuntana, its very own mountain range covers is over 160 km long in an area that is 1000km2 with peaks up to 1445 m high. Largely protected by UNESCO, this is an area with epic rides, challenging climbs with multiple hairpin bends and terrifying descents, in a landscape that is breathtakingly beautiful.
The coastal route is 550km long and mostly accessible on a bike; follow the route of the Mallorca 312, 312 kilometres circumference of the entire island. And then there is the central plain where you can clock in the miles over a flat and rolling landscape intersected with thousands of country lanes.
One of the main draws, Mallorca boasts 300 days of sunshine a year with a short rainy season limited mostly to November and December, and mild winters which allow for cycling training camps to take to the roads as early as January.
The peak summer season between June and early September is mostly considered too hot for any real training to go on, and safe only very early morning and late in the evening. In spring and autumn, between February and May and again in September and October, Mallorca has perfect cycling weather; warm and dry with long daylight hours.
Mallorca may be small in size and just another wee island off the Spanish coast, but it does have a state of the art international airport in Palma de Mallorca with regular and charter flights running in and out, non-stop, every day throughout the year and a highly polished transfer and taxi service to shuttle you and your bike to your hotel.
You can fly to Mallorca from practically anywhere in Europe and should you wish to fly from further afield, you can transfer in Barcelona, which is just half an hour flight away.
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