With 14 of the 18 mens WT teams training in and around the Costa Blanca, and many UK cycling groups (and Team Ineos) still favouring Majorca, we have a look at both destinations having visited both in the last month.
As a UK based tour operator, we are incredibly fortunate to travel to many of Europes cycling hotspots so we thought e might take a deeper dive into two destinations that attract the worlds best (Cost Blanca) and an extraordinary amount of UK cyclists (Majorca)
Oh and Yes........ read on and we will reveal the authors favourite and why.
Majorca attracts up to 200,000 cyclists each year and some estimates suggest that it brings around £150 million to the local economy. Many of these are made up of German and UK cyclists who travel in their droves through the Spring and Autumn to ride and relax on this Balearic gem.
The roads of the Tramuntana mountains are extraordinary and fully deserving of their iconic status. The out and back ride to the Formentor lighthouse is an absolute joy and the sinuous climb up Sa Calobra is one of a kind. There are also a range of flatter rides into the centre of the island that allow you to visit some picturesque towns and take in the big skies and quiet country roads.
Many visiting cyclists stay in the north of the island around Puerto Pollensa and Alcudia. We favour the former as it is so picturesque and the hotels are both accommodating for cyclists and provide us with a great professional service. This location also allows us to plan varied routes for cyclists and a relaxed and enjoyable experience off the bike.
The Costa Blanca is synonymous with British tourism at its best and worst. Benidorm is at the centre of the region, but let's ignore that blot and focus on cycling travel.
Calpe has long been a favourite of aspiring and current professional cyclists. Pre internet, traditional cycling magazines would regularly run features on winter training camps from Calpe as it was one of the first areas to welcome cyclists and accommodate pro teams in its towering hotels. However, we are pleased to say that things have moved on since then!
Calpe still remains a major draw, but Denia, Altea, Albir and Javea are also all very popular. They all have good access to the best cycling in and around the Jalon valley and have plenty of accommodation options for cycling groups.
Recently, many teams have started to stay nearer Denia. This region offers an amazing array of routes - you could head on a completely flat ride up the coast to Gandia and all the way to Valencia should you wish, or you could head in land and take on the Coll du Rates, Vall d'Ebo or Tolos. All these climbs are challenging yet achievable for all road cyclists, and can be combined with one another or a range of other beautiful roads - up and down.
So enough of the overview........Let's get on to the Match up.
Flights - both destinations have regular flights throughout the year from across Europe and many are very reasonably priced.
Bike+ winner - Costa Blanca. Why? 2 airports - Valencia and Alicante, mean there are even more flight options.
Accommodation - Majorca has an extraordinary number of hotels that welcome cyclists and serve them brilliantly. We love the Pollensa Park hotel in Puerto Pollensa as the staff and infrastructure are amazing. However, our very favourite hotel is the Oliva Nova Resort nr Denia - it is great for cycling groups and knows the requirements of hungry athletes like few others
Bike+ winner - Majorca. Why? Sheer number of hotels and options
Cafe stops - Majorca has some wonderful places to stop mid ride - cycling planet in Alaro is fantastic and the petrol station at Lluc is curiously iconic. In the Jalon valley - Velosol and Musette are great stops for pro spotting and Cafe Ciclista in Denia is great for food, drink and bike rental.
Bike+ winner - Costa Blanca. Why? Great cycling specific cafe's alongside welcoming and high quality local businesses.
Bike rental - Many trips hinge on the quality of bike that clients are offered. Many cycling travellers are extremely discerning and only want the very best steed. Both destinations are serviced by some brilliant companies with high end bike collections.
Bike+ winner - Majorca. Why? Cafe Ciclista in Denia is real friend to Bike+, however Majorca has to be the winner for this category due to the shear number of outlets. Oh and big shout out to Majorca Cycling Holidays at Pollensa Park who have a great new range of Basso bikes.
Cycling experience - Now this is a very tricky question. Both destinations have it all and are a joy to cycle round. However, if you sit on the fence you might get splinters.
Bike + winner - Costa Blanca. Why? The Costa Blanca edges it due to the range of routes on offer and the ease with which you create amazing loops. Whilst the out and back rides in Majorca may be the most iconic they also make route planning more challenging and limited.
Final Score. Costa Blanca 3 v 2 Majorca