Mallorca is not only the center of European cycling tourism, but it is also a destination for professional cycling. It is known that for years several World Tour teams such as Bora Hansgrohe, Ineos Grenadiers, Visma-Lease a bike... have trained on the island during the winter due to the favorable characteristics that Mallorca has for cycling. This means that one can be riding on a normal Saturday and cross the Education First team on the road (it has happened to me) and even try to hold on to their wheel for a few kilometers.
The most important week for professional cycling in Mallorca took place last week, from January 20 to 28, 2024, when the Garden Hotels-Luxcom Challenge Mallorca was held. From January 24 to 28, the men's cycling competition took place, bringing together a total of 24 teams including names such as Movistar, UAE Emirates, Bora-Hansgrohe, Soudal-Quick Step... among others.
In addition, this year we have also been able to enjoy the best women's cycling. For the first time in history, Mallorca hosts the women's event from January 20 to 22, 2024. Women's World Tour teams such as Ceratizit - WNT Pro Cycling, UAE, Movistar Team and Uno - X Mobility have participated.
The first weekend started with the women's Challenge divided into three very tough stages: Felanitx Trophy - Colónia de Sant Jordi, the Palma Trophy and the Binissalem-Andratx Trophy. The great winner of this contest was the Education First team, winner of the first two stages thanks to its riders Noemi Ruegg and Magdeleine Vallieres. Also, of course, the UAE team stood out with the victory of the third stage of the rider Eleonora Gasparrini.
The men's Challenge has consisted of 5 independent stages around the island going from a 'flat' route through the south of the island at Ses Salines-Felanitx Trophy to cover the entire Sierra de Tramuntana in the Pollença-Port d'Andratx Trophy. In this edition of the men's Challenge there has been no clear winner from the beginning, the individual stage victories have been distributed in this order: EF Education - Easypost, Soudal Quick-Step, Lotto DSTNY, Movistar and the last stage Intermarché - Wanty .
From this test we can highlight several moments that keep cycling alive. In the Pollença-Port d'Andratx Trophy, a stage along the Serra de Tramuntana, it seemed that Igor Arrieta of the UAE team had the chance to win, who ride through several ports, but just a few kilometers from the finish he slided, losing all the chances of winning. In the end, Pelayo Sánchez of Movistar won the sprint, which shows us that in cycling you can never take anything for granted.
The funniest anecdote I would say was when, in the last stage, in which was covered 30 km laps in front of La Seu in Palma, a rider from the Bora Hansgrohe team launched a sprint and celebrated the victory two laps before finishing. The audience was stunned, wondering how it could be that no one told them through the earpiece that there were still several kilometers left to finish.
In short, the Mallorcans and our visitors have been able to enjoy watching the best professionals riding on our roads and follow them in our free time without having to watch their broadcast on Eurosport and Teledeporte. In addition, being able to see the riders rising our favorite cols and destroy all our best times. If anyone had planned to do the KOM at the Coll de sa Batalla, they have made it difficult.
It is clear that Mallorca is making a place for itself in international cycling, both professional and amateur. So much so that it is being considered to be the start of the Vuelta a España in 2026. We hope to be able to host more great events like this and continue enjoying cycling in all its forms.
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