Contador plus 8000 others
I've often said that cycling is really big in Mallorca with crowd pulling events taking place on its roads and Palma Arena velodrome. It's also been the winter base for the professional Sky cycling team that swept all before them and of course is the cycling holiday destination for tens of thousands of amateur men and women in Lycra every year.
One of the major events in the calendar is the Mallorca 312, so called because it covers a route of exactly 312 km through the west and north of the island. This year when the entry to the 312 was announced, the 8000 places available were snapped up in only 6 days and there is currently only a waiting list for would be competitors on the off chance that someone drops out.
The big news this year, the tenth 'running' of the 312, is that homage will be paid to one of the greatest Spanish riders in history, Alberto Contador. He'll complete the circuit with everyone else and will wear the bib of honour – number 312 – on the day.
Contador has a total of 69 victories in his professional career including the tours of France, Italy and Spain, making him one of only seven cyclists to achieve the treble and overcame terrible injuries in the early stages of his career.
There are actually three routes in the event covering 167, 225, and 312 km, with the riders starting at 07:00 on 27th April from Playa de Muro. The main route takes them all along the north coast, down and back up the Tramuntana Mountains (there are over 5000 metre of climbs) and then over to Arta before heading back to the finish in Playa de Muro. There's a limit of 21 hours set to complete the course.
It's an important event which brings a lot of people and cash into the economy. Like to see it? Check out the route and timings on the Mallorca 312 website which is also useful to know when the roads on the route will be closed to traffic.