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Event Review

REVIEW: Mallorca 312

by Nick Gregory

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REVIEW: Mallorca 312

Cyclosport's Nick Gregory travelled to Mallorca courtesy of the Balearic Islands and Spanish Tourist Offices, for additional information:

Email: info.londres@tourspain.es
Website: www.spain.info 

M312a

Date: 26 April 2014
Price: From €40
Distances: 167km or 312km
Participants: 2,000
Location: Iberostar Playa de Muro, Mallorca
Extras: Entry includes an event jersey, finisher T-shirt and certificate
Support: The event is fully signed, with on-course mechanical and medical back up and a broom wagon
Feed Stations: Numerous well-stocked feed stations with a wide array of sweet and savoury snacks - plus intermediate water stops.
Mallorca 312: www.mallorca312.com
Iberostar Playa de Muro: www.iberostar.com 

The Balearic Islands sit off the east coast of the Spanish mainland, a Mediterranean oasis that collectively caters for just about every interest and character. Ibiza draws the frenzied clubbers, Menorca the more reserved, sedentary types. Formentera is a haven for the off-the-beaten-trackers, and finally there's Mallorca... 

The island has, at times, been unfairly tarred with the brush of being famous for nothing more than the hedonistic and debauched excess of Magaluf et al. However, the aim of the Balearic Islands and Spanish Tourist Boards in recent years has been to disprove this myth. 

In truth, Mallorca is a microcosm of the Balearics as a whole; it has something for everyone - from the sun 'n sea tourism of Palma to the more secluded and sedate beaches such as Cala Tuent, with its pine tree shelter and vertiginous vista. The monasteries at Valldemossa and Lluc compliment the historic towns of Deia and Soller; whilst the pavement cafés and quaint shops of Arta offer a more urban alternative to the stunning mountain scenery in the Serra de Tramuntana - the most prominent mountain range in Mallorca, which occupies the north-western area of the island and was recently named a UNESCO World Heritage site. "Like a movie star settling comfortably into middle age, Mallorca has matured without ever losing its glamour," as Lonely Planet puts it.

M312b

M312c 

And that's before we even get to the cycling. For many years now the island has been cultivating its reputation as a veritable paradise for those on two wheels, not just because of the terrain, climate and billiard table-smooth roads, but also thanks to the unparralled beauty of the region, its culture and exquisite gastronomy - which itself has played a huge part in the island's renaissance (it now boasts six Michelin-starred restaurants.) It's possible to combine these two pursuits as well, by incorporating into a day's cycling a visit to a winery, an olive mill or a farm to learn how sobrasada, the Majorcan pork sausage, is made. 

The northeast coast comprises two bays: the Badia de Pollenca, and the larger Badia d'Alcudia - home to the Iberostar Playa de Muro. Surrounded by pine trees and within a stone's throw of the natural parks of S'Albufera and Comu Wall, the Iberostar Playa de Muro is the dream destination for cyclists wanting to escape winter and head to the Med for some early-season warm weather training, or indeed for the 312 event itself. 

The Iberostar Playa de Muro has been specifically equipped to cater for cyclists, with facilities including an enormous (and I mean enormous) garage solely dedicated to bike storage, an on-site workshop for mechanical repairs, hire bikes and gyms. The hotel is often closed to the public in January, when professional cycling teams from across Europe have the run of the place as they prepare for the forthcoming season, which opens on the island with the 'Challenge Mallorca' race. The Playa de Muro is one of 13 Iberostar Hotels & Resorts in Mallorca, and more than 100 worldwide - from Jamaica to Brazil. I was actually staying in the Iberostar Albufera Playa, a couple of kilometres up the road but equally as stunning. 

M312d

M312e

Not only do vast swathes of the professional cycling peloton spend much of the winter on Mallorca, but the island is also home to tennis ace, Rafa Nadal and has become a regular holiday hot spot for famous faces such as rapper Jay Z, model Kate Moss and actor Michael Douglas. And this isn't a new trend - in the mid nineteenth century the French writer, George Sand and the famous Polish composer and pianist, Frederic Chopin resided in Valldemossa. Agatha Christie would spend time in Port de Pollenca half a century later. 


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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 9 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 10 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 9 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 10 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 9 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 10 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 8 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 10 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 10 out of 10
Overall Rating 94.4%




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