Four gruelling races with some of the world's best cyclists
One of the most important cycling events in Spain takes place once again at the end of the month in Mallorca. It's the XXV Playa de Palma Challenge Ciclista Mallorca and as you've already guessed, it's celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Mallorca's certainly the ideal place for an early season curtain raiser with its near perfect mild winter climate and variety of testing terrains from lung bursting mountain climbs to loooooong flat sprint stretches on the plain. It's no wonder that one of the best and most well known cycling teams in the world, Team Sky, use it as their winter training base and Sir Bradley Wiggins describes it as his second home!
This year's race has drawn 21 teams from Spain, Europe and beyond and nine of them belong to the sport's top category, UCI World Teams. Star names in the cast of hundreds include Alejandro Valverde, Bradley Wiggins, Fabian Cancellara, André Greipel and Vasil Kiryenka (photo) the current UCI World Champ.
The four day event starts on the 28th January when you can see the likes of Team Sky, Movistar, (photo) The Great Britain National Team and the first ever South African outfit to participate, Team Dimension Data.You can find the full details of the races on the official website, but to be going on with, here's a brief summary;
28th January – Felanitx – Salinas – Campos – Porreres, 177 km
29th January – Pollensa – Andratx, 153 km
30th January – Soller – Deia, 144 km
31st January – Palma – Palma, 162 km
Phew, over 600 km in just four days, I wouldn't even drive that far, let alone push a bike round at high speed. What stamina these guys have!
The event is of course great publicity for Mallorca, with dedicated cycling fans from all over the world tuning in, there's plenty of TV coverage of the challenge, and getting to see what a spectacularly beautiful place the island is when it wears its lush green winter coat.
See you at the finish line?