Alicante’s Mediterranean coastline, The Costa Blanca, is home to two juggernaut cycling holiday and education camp locations: Calpe and Denia.
Calpe has been used as an education base for a big percent of the seasoned peloton, with Team Dimension Data, Trek-Segafredo, Team Sky, and Sunweb, to name some putting in place camp there.
Travel just a little way alongside the coast, and you’ll discover Denia – a barely quieter metropolis that sits inside the shadow of its eleventh-century citadel.
There are lots more places to stay in among, as properly, and the journey is as simple as a flight into Alicante for maximum.
Why go to Denia or Calpe?
Traveling cyclists are generally seeking out the superlative in two key standards: weather and terrain. Local delicacies, a fee of residing (and eating), and amusement are all generally secondary.
So, it’s beneficial for Costa Blanca that in 1986 the World Health Organisation advocated the place as “one of the maximum equitable inside the world,” applauding it for being neither too warm nor too cold.
The region boasts a tremendous 325 sunny days a yr. Cyclists tend to go to within the months between October and May, while max temperatures are around sixteen°C to twenty-five°C. The months from June to September can attain 30° quiet without problems and may get a piece hot for motorbike riding.
Average rainy days range from one a month mid-summer season to 6 in December, with the spring months soaring at around four.
On to the terrain, which boasts the beauty of variability.
There are masses of long, flat lanes – often accompanied via the zesty scent of orange groves.
These offer an ideal playground for crew time trial schooling – something CCC Team (formerly BMC) had been doing multiple weeks before Cycling Weekly arrived for a week of riding in Spring, leaving at the back of the evidence within the form of chalk strains drawn at the roads.
Then, of the route, there are the climbs. Many of those are pretty steady, from five to 6 according to cent in common gradient and whatever from six to fifteen kilometers long. These lend themselves flawlessly to education efforts at and around purposeful threshold electricity.
These additionally allow for a little power left in the legs for sprint efforts over the forehead, that is ideal even for amateur groups training lead-outs beforehand of the season proper.
There are additionally a few steep climbs which may be used as launch pads for a few high torque efforts, in case you’ve got the legs. Examples include the 4km Cumbre del Sol, which – relying on which way you climb it – averages around 10 in keeping with the cent and includes ramps over 20 in step with a cent.
In 2015 the climb enlivened the Vuelta an España as Tom Dumoulin went on to take the win at the same time as riders in the back of crack at the slopes, then in 2017, it became Chris Froome who changed into pleasant over the ramps.
When ought to you propose your ride?
Temperatures are warm all yr, though the maximum favorite time to visit is between January and mid-April.
John Fegan, the owner of ‘Train in Spain‘ which organizes and guides group schooling camps and vacations in Denia, advised us: “The men’s and ladies’ pro groups and continental teams are focused right here in December and January. It is the top time for amateur organizations, golf equipment, and agencies to visit from February to April.
“The only time to keep away from is July to mid-September while the coastal roads get very busy and it’s far too warm for most people to want to exercise much.
“From October to December, temperatures are by and large warm to moderate as they are from March to May. January and February can also be mild to warm; however, there is a cold snap or a wet few days.”
Where to live
Denia, located 90km from Alicante airport, is a coastal metropolis with rows of traditional streets housing restaurants and stores as well as an active modern-day Marina and lengthy stretches of sandy seashores.
The area can provide lots of quiet, flat roads, which can be best for time trial and group time trial schooling in addition to recovery days, plus rolling hills and, of course, climb.
Fegan set up Train in Spain, and its famous cake and motorbike hire provider Cafe Ciclista, to host corporations of amateurs and execs. Of course, he proposes the location over its favorite neighbor Calpe.
“Most longer rides [from Denia] begin with 20kms or so of smooth, flat using which lets in riders to heat-up earlier than going into the climbs,” he says.
“There is a wider variety of climbs nearby and that they may be combined up or combined greater than you may do from the Calpe vicinity. Directly inland, as well as to the northwest of Denia, it is straightforward to attain and revel in the likes of the Vall de Gallinera – and over to Benares reservoir and Lorcha – Tollos, Vall de Ebo, Mirador de Xap, La Vall de Laguar, Petracos, Coll de Garga.
“More or less straight inland you’ve got, of the route, the Coll de Rates and the Sierra de Bernia, which can be each about 25km from Denia.”
Just 20km from the party city of Benidorm and 64km from Alicante airport, Calpe guarantees sandy seashores and masses of seaside bars for publishing experience ‘healing liquids’ of a hoppy nature.
Midsummer season, it’s a favorite own family vacation place, so there’s plenty of locations to eat and drink.
Fegan says: “Calpe is a bit toward Alicante airport. However, it enjoys the identical climate as Denia, and it has nearer access to the longer climbs of Tudons and Confrides. If humans want to do the longer also climbs south then it is a superb region to be. The important disadvantage is that to get out of Calpe and into the hills, you have to cycle on busy roads.”
Calpe has historically been favored using pro teams. Fegan explains: “A key reason the seasoned teams selected Calpe as their base becomes due to the reality that after the lovable and very massive 4-big name Diamante Hotel, there’s an absolutely big car park wherein they can park their buses and trucks right beside the inn entrance.
“This is a need-to-have for them, and only a few hotels within the other nearby cities can provide it.”
Fancy staying far from the coast?
Ontinyent is nestled within the Vall Dalriada area, which also carries the Serra Mariola National Park, and the city is domestic to newly released cycling holiday business enterprise Escapar.Cc.
The city is just over an hour from Alicante airport (91 kilometers) and being more inland is greener and more luscious. Temperatures may be a touch decrease mid-summer season, with much less humidity and you may assume even fewer wet days too.
Founder David Emery defined the central place as a “Goldilocks location,” surrounded using a surplus of vineyards in addition to having proximity to some of the area’s tallest mountains and lower ranges of visitors and tourism.
“Looking on the local map of all the named climbs confirms that Alcoy and Ontinyent are blessed with a sheer abundance of climbs, 1000m mountains and an unparalleled kind of riding, that consists of perhaps the most famous climbs along with the Carresqueta, Port de Tudons, and Xorret del Cati,” Emery stated.
“There are a couple of mountain passes straight from the central metropolis, and the riding is high-quality from kilometer zero. However, on the coast, you have got to ride 20 to 30km at the begin and quit or merely rides to get the conventional climbs.
“There’s additionally an array of lesser-regarded hiking gemstones, with alpine-like gradients of six to 9 in keeping with cent, that simply doesn’t exist near the coast, in which it’s regularly brief and steep or lengthy and constant,” he delivered.
Coll de Rates is the blue ribboned climb of the place. At 6km, with an average gradient of 5 in keeping with cent, it’s brief and shallow sufficient that it’s ideal for FTP type efforts.
While most of the people will use Strava to time their attempt now, there’s an excellent style ticketing system, with an order on the pinnacle and bottom.
The clean gradient, great views, and stunning floor make for an outstanding descent, too – just look out for the ones driving inside the different course and so ‘at the restrict’ that the white line is all a piece of a blur.
Very lots a ‘testers climb,’ the 8km stretch from Pego winds its manner to the summit at a median gradient of 6 percent without precise ramps to disrupt your float.
The constant switchbacks provide masses of opportunity to take in the valley views – or take a look at the development of your trip friends.
Beware – if you climb from Pego and continue directly to Tollos after the summit, you’ll be greeted with a similarly 15km of rolling terrain that offers some significantly stinging ramps. So it’s nicely worth leaving a little energy within the tank, move too hard on the climb, and you might find yourself tempted to get off the motorcycle and call a taxi domestic.
Known for its unrelentingly steep gradient, the Cumbre Del Sol featured in the Vuelta an España in e015 and 2017 – with Tom Dumoulin and Chris Froome taking the victory
There are five routes up, but the choice selected by the Spanish race’s path planners is 4.1km long, averaging out at 9.1 percent – with hairpins over 20 percent.
Overlooking the coast, the perspectives from the pinnacle are high-quality – and in case you’re no longer tearing your self apart to reach the summit within the quality time viable, the area makes for attractive viewing up.
At 10.8km lengthy with a 6 in keeping with cent gradient, this ascent offers a vista which more than rewards the efforts put in as you snake your manner to the top of the climb.
You can experience Sagra for a less complicated gradient over an extended distance or start in Castell de Castells for a shorter but steeper version.
It’s worth leaving some fuel within the tank on this one. Even taking the ‘less complicated’ side from Sagra, the primary 8km common anywhere from 3 to 6 in line with cent – then the final stretch ramps up dramatically, averaging up to 9.4 percent for each kilometer with slopes of 17 in front with the cent.