Much like migratory birds, cyclists can be found heading south for winter in search of warmer, sunnier climes. There are a select few European destinations which take in the bulk of this exodus, amongst them are Girona, Mallorca, Gran Canaria and of course, Calpe. Each of these places has its own merit and any self-respecting fair weather rider should tick them all off at some point, Calpe, however, is one of the original and best tried and tested winter cycling destination.
Near Perfect Winter Cycling Conditions
The primary focus for choosing any winter cycling destination is the weather. After all, isn’t the point of a winter training camp to escape to the sun and replicate those hazy summer cycling days? Calpe offers near-perfect ‘winter’ cycling conditions, with 325 sunny days per year and temperatures during the winter months ranging between a mild 16°C and a balmy 25°C.
Calpe – A Tried and Tested Cycling Training Ground
Calpe has long been the favourite winter training camp location for myriad professional teams, with the likes of Dimension Data, INEOS, Trek-Segafredo and Sunweb choosing to prepare for the season ahead on the Costa Blanca. If it’s good enough for the pros…
The Range of Terrain
Calpe boasts a wide range of terrain, making it a fantastic place for winter training. There are flat roads, rolling roads, and plenty of mountain climbs to choose from. You can ride through forests, along the coast and through towns as you traverse the smoothly-paved roads. This variety of training roads means that whether you want an easy coffee cruise or a monster day in the mountains there’s something for you.
Depending on the season, you can find orange groves and pink-tinged almond blossom lining the aforementioned smooth Calpe roads. This, accompanied by panoramic views of the Mediterranean sea from the top of climbs and the rolling, imposing figures of the mountains make Calpe a scenic delight, with perhaps the exception of Benidorm….
Of course, Calpe may be the place to be for the pros during winter, but there are just as many amateur riders who flock there too and whereas the pros must restrain when it comes to food and other festivities in preparation for the coming season, amateur riders bear no such professional responsibility. As such, a cycling holiday in Calpe can be augmented by a hearty enjoyment of the Spanish way of life: post-ride cervezas by the beach and a mid-ride tapas or bocadillo enjoyed on a lengthy coffee stop are highly recommended, after all, you’ve earned it.
Key Calpe Climbs
- Cumbre del Sol: There are a few ways to tackle this climb, but none of them are easy. The Vuelta a Espana peloton have grovelled their way up the Cumbre del Sol from Alcasar a few times taking on the brutal 3.2 km at 11.9%. Those who don’t subscribe to the mindset of getting it over with quickly can climb from Benitachell which is 6.3 km at 6%.
- Col de Rates: A crack at Col de Rates is obligatory on a cycling holiday in Calpe. The 6 km climb has gained legendary status among all types of rider and is known as the local testing climb owing to its perfect length and steady 5% average gradient.
- Tudons: A category one climb at 15.3 km long with an average gradient of 5% this is one of the toughest climbs in the area.
- Confrides: If the length of this 10.4 km and 4.4% climb seems all a bit much then take a deep breath and appreciate the beautiful almond blossom lining the roads…
- Vall d’EboThis is a stunning climb, 8 km long with an average gradient of 6% but the views and switchbacks can provide a welcome distraction!
Keen to Ride in Calpe?
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