Event Review

REVIEW: Mallorca 312

by Nick Gregory

ES Flag

We were scheduled to be there from Wednesday to Sunday, but I was only able to fly out and join the group on Friday. From what I understand however, Thursday was spent enjoying a more relaxed ride through the often overlooked, but beautifully unspoilt interior of the island - with lunch at a traditional Mallorcan restaurant. 

Friday, had our flight not been delayed, presented the opportunity for a visit to Palma - the capital of Mallorca and only major city in the Balearic Islands. Famous for its stunning gothic cathedral, La Seu (which luckily I would still see, albeit from the saddle the next day) Palma is a bustling, cosmopolitan hive of activity, with more beachfront tapas bars than you can shake a jug of sangria at.  The city accommodates approximately half of the island's population, which stands at nearly 900,000. 


However, flight delays meant that Friday night became something of a rush. Checking into the hotel I had just enough time to drop my bags off before heading to the Iberostar Playa de Muro - which would double as event HQ - for the pre-race presentation and press launch. There was no doubt who the star of the show was: five-time Tour de France winner and national hero, Miguel Indurain. 

'Big Mig' would wear the coveted '312' number during the event the next day, and to mark the fifth anniversary of the race, would ride alongside previous guests of honour including compatriots Oscar Freire, Joseba Beloki, Joan Horrach, Fernando Escartin and Oscar Pereiro. Irishmen Stephen Roche and Sean Kelly also took to the start, along with 2,000 other riders from over 30 different countries.  


At 312kms, the Mallorca 312 is the longest one-day sportive in Spain, possibly in Europe, and offers riders a full circumnavigation of the island, starting and finishing at the Iberostar Playa de Muro. With 4,300m of climbing and a 14 hour time limit it's also one of the toughest, although the winning time this year was a staggeringly quick 9hr 8mins, set by Graziano Paris.

To help riders get round within the time limit, there was a 'Green Dot Group' of local riders who set a steady speed in order to finish inside the allocated time. And for those who, quite sensibly, would rather take on a 'smaller' challenge there's the Mallorca 167 - half the distance but still covering over 2,500m of climbing. 



The atmosphere at the start was electric, despite the fact that the sun was barely up. Although strictly speaking not a closed road affair, there was a mass-start and the opening 10kms featured police at every roundabout and junction stopping traffic to allow the peloton to pass uninterrupted. In fact, as the day went on the lack of traffic only served to further cement in my mind Mallorca's reputation as cycling nirvana, particularly when I'd been jostling and gesticulating my way across Piccadilly Circus just 24 hours earlier. 

The pace was intense, and the nervous energy that filled the air was as palpable as the aroma of embrocation that accompanied it, and the first half an hour flew by in blur of carbon and noise. The route goes in an anti-clockwise direction out of Playa de Muro and remains flat for quite some time as you pass along the two aforementioned bays. However, soon enough the field was thinned as we hit the mountains. 



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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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