With so many of the worlds best cycling teams choosing the coastline between Alicante and Valencia for their winter training camps, we have a look at what this coast line has to offer.
The Costa Blanca.........Isn't that Benidorm and boozy brits abroad? High rise monstrosities and woeful tan lines..........well yes it is, but it also has a whole lot more for visiting cyclists.
Where to stay?
The region rose to prominence for cyclists in pre internet age, where cycling weekly published features on winter training camps from Spain. As basic as it may seem, teams chose their hotels based upon size of car park as much as location - this meant that many teams were based in Calpe which had a number of bigger hotels with generous car parks. To this day Calpe remains very popular for cyclists from the UK and Belgium. It has a range of accommodation and the fabulous roads around the Jalon Valley are little more than 20km away.
At Bike + we favour staying near Denia and Oliva - the region is less built up and has a slightly more Spanish feel, this would also be the case with Javea which is a great base also. Denia and it's surrounds hosts a number of teams and Syncrosfera hotel in Pedregeur has become a favourite for Remco and MvdP as it has rooms which simulate high altitude.
Our favoured hotel is the Oliva Nova Beach Resort between Oliva and Denia. Each year it hosts Alberto Contador and his Eolo Kometa team, as well as a number of Football teams from Europes best leagues. In the past it has also hosted Quickstep, Lotton Soudal (as was) and Cofidis. We are lucky to enhoy a great relationship with the hotel. The rooms are generous, modern and clean and the food is outstanding, In fact the food is so good, we have to cycle a lot to counter balance the calorie intake.
Furthermore, the Oliva Nova Beach resort has a lovely pool and beach access. Which along with an excellent bike garage and secure setting, make it a wonderful place to stay. We also appreciate that whatever direction you cycle, the first 10km are flat which allows the legs to be loosened up before heading up hill!
Where to cycle?
The Coll du Rates would be the regions signature climb. Starting in Parcent, this climb is neither long or particularly hard, but it is perfect for measured efforts and to enjoy the great views back to the coast as you near the top. Once over the top of the initial climb you can cycle on to the picturesque village of Tarbena which has a number of lovely restaurants.
One of our favourite climbs in the region is Vall de Ebo, which is just 13km from our hotel and heads up out of Pego. It is a sinuous road which rises over 11km at
a steady gradient - once again the views are fantastic - this year it will feature in stage 9 of the Vuelta which starts in Denia. Once you descend over the peak you have some very quiet rolling roads which very remote. However before long you can be grabbing a coffee and cake at Musette in Parcent or Velosol in Xalo.
Once of the tougher routes is out to Tollos via Pego. This has been used in recent times in the Vuelta and whilst the profile does not appear too intimidating, there are a number of short tough spikes on this climb and if the wind is not in your favour it can same both remote and very tough!
Whilst I have mentioned some of the climbs in the area, one of the many benefits of this area is that there is also an abundance of flat route options which provide both a physiological benefit and a less intimidating prospect depending upon your climbing prowess.
How to get there?
Another major plus point for a UK based cyclist is that this region is very easy to get to. Most major airlines will fly throughout the year to both Alicante and Valencia. We favour the latter as BA fly to Valencia and we like their approach to luggage allowance, though Alicante probably enjoys more regular flights from most UK airport. From there it is a 75 minute trip to Oliva Nova or a mere 30 minutes to Calpe.
When to travel?
The weather on this coastline is generally pretty good. Though if we were forced to choose we would favour March to May and then September and November. These months are out of the very busy tourist season, but generally pretty warm and dry. For more ambitious riders with serious designs on race preparation, we would suggest that Dec, Jan and Feb are great times to visit and whilst you may need arm warmers and a gillet, you are very likely to be sharing the road with the worlds best.
Off bike support?
The region is home to a number of excellent cycling cafe's and service centres. Our favourite is Cafe Ciclista in Denia which is both a great Cafe and bike rental hub. We source our bikes through the owner John and regularly pop by at the end of rides for some food and quite often an end of ride beer
In conclusion, we love visiting the area and the quality of experience both on and off the bike mean that we intend to grow our presence in the region and promote our training camps alongside bespoke group trips.
Head to our Bike + trips page to find out more on our Bike+ training camp or get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org for bespoke quotes.