Spain’s coasts are attracting cycling teams like never before. Most professional teams from across Europe have set up a training camp in Spain.
If you want to see the world’s best cyclists at close range, forget the Tour de France. Insted you could head to the Spanish Mediterranean coast in December. There is an abundance of elite cyclists on the local roads this month. It has become tradition in December that almost all the major European teams start charging for next season in Spain.
But they will not get much time to enjoy the beaches, as it is training for the upcoming season that will be in focus. The most popular area is a promontory between Alicante and Valencia. The teams are accommodated in Calpe and Denia and venturing in the hilly hinterland. The BMC Racing is a team that is fairly typical. They invite team members and participants for a series of meetings and training trips. Team Leader Jim Ochowiz say it’s a combination of good roads, mild climate and low traffic that makes the area a great base for a pre-season training camp.
In addition to BMC Racing, the Etixx Quick-Step, Katusha and Astana teams are also in the region. They are staying at hotels for many weeks and during that time they can are training, hving meetings, photo sessions, physiological tests, tests of new equipment etc. The teams then return back home in January, when the season’s first race is approaching.
The teams are attracted to Spain by a number of reasons. The travel distance is short and the terrain is ideal for building fitness. Besides the weather is mild and it seldom rains, all in sharp contrast to France, Italy and Belgium at this time of year. Even the French teams who for years were forbidden to leave France for training camps, are now in Spain. Ag2r-La Mondiale came to Gandia last week while Cofidis are residing in Lloret del Mar, just north of Barcelona.
The Tinkof-Saxo team is traveling a little longer and have chosen Gran Canaria for their training camp. Alberto Contador celebrated his birthday there with his teammates. Team Sky and Team GB are two of several teams that have chosen Mallorca. Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford said they have a perfect base on the island. Although the long slopes that exist on the mainland is missing on Mallorca, there is an abundance of quiet narrow winding and hilly roads.
Another team that also has chosen Mallorca is Lotto Soudal. Sports director Herman Frison said: “We are in full preparation for the season. There is a very large and delicious buffet here at the hotel, maybe a little too good for riders. We’ll see who has the discipline to stay away from unhealthy things. ”