Hot Winter Training: The Canary Islands

The Canary Islands, more specifically Gran Canaria and Tenerife, are the hottest winter training destination for the pro peloton Peter Thomson, owner of Thomson Bike Tours, reveals how to emulate the pros with a spring-training week in the sun.

– Special Travel Feature By Peter Thomson of Thomson Bike Tours –

Quick- Where are the Canary Islands? Not sure? We’re amazed how little the world knows about this Spanish archipelago that happens to be a cycling paradise.

You might want to get to know them. The Canary Islands, more specifically Gran Canaria and Tenerife, are the new Mallorca and currently the hottest winter training destination for the pro peloton. We fell in love with the islands when we started running trips there 3 years ago. They offer an unbelievable combination of elements that will make any avid cyclist swoon. Here’s an insider guide to what makes the Canary Island such a hot spot for ambitious riders.

The palm trees give this one away. It’s a tropical paradise! To give you a comparison, Gran Canaria is on the same latitude as Florida, whereas Mallorca is in line with New Jersey. Temperatures in February and March in the Canary Islands range from 20-23° C (70-75° F). It’s sunny. All. The. Time.

The elevation is unrivaled. There are short climbs, long climbs, shallow climbs and steep climbs. The switchbacks are breathtaking. At Thomson Bike Tours, we’ve earned a reputation for discovering the best places in the world to climb, and these roads make us giddy. One of our favorite routes is the wicked ‘Valley of the Tears’ on Gran Canaria. The first kilometer is a snakey wall that ranges from 15-25%. It continues on for another 10km at +10% average. As if that’s not enough, this year, we’ll fly over to Tenerife for the day to tackle one of the most notorious climbs in all of Europe: El Teide.

El Teide
Tenerife has been a mainstay for Tour de France contenders for years because of one gigantic climb. At 50km long and with over 2500m gained, the monstrous El Teide is a superior training climb. Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome credit their Tour wins to training at altitude on El Teide in the early season. We can’t resist the challenge! This climb should be on everyone’s bucket list.

The roads carve through the mountains in the most sensational fashion. The surface condition is great and the traffic is low to non-existent. There’s plenty of local flavor, too. On Gran Canaria, remote in the mountains, there is a charming roadside café that is centrally placed among the best routes. It serves as an excellent refuel hub and is teeming with pros and international cyclists all day long. After a few big climbs, there is nothing like stopping here to sip a cold coke in the sun and spark up casual conversation with riders from all over the world. It is legendary.

There’s no shortage of idyllic accommodation in the Canary Islands, as it’s a prime holiday destination for Europeans. We chose the Hotel Cordial Mogan Playa because it’s perfectly situated at the heart of the best routes in the charming little beach town of Puerto Mogan. It also happens to be #2 of over 700 hotels on the island. It’s a lushly landscaped, sprawling resort whose exceptional dining and spa amenities suit the weary cyclist. The riding is hard, you need a good place to rest and recover at the end of a long day.

The islands are closer than they appear. It’s just a short flight from Madrid or Barcelona, into an easy, low-traffic airport. The fantastic roads and signage make the islands a breeze to navigate. Spanish is the official language and the national currency is the Euro.

Family Friendly
This is one of those cycling destinations that partners and families will also enjoy. Beyond the resort’s plentiful amenities and activities, there are excellent adventure opportunities like tours, hiking and camelback riding. The beach is 500m away. The colorful port is walkable and alive with sidewalk cafes, shops and local music.

Fabian Cancellara owns property here for good reason. What are you waiting for?

Join the Trip
Thomson Bike Tours offers an 8 day, 7 night fully-supported, all-inclusive training camp over 4 weeks, from Feb 13 – March 12.
• $2295 per person. Bianchi Infinito rental bikes are available.
Click Here for Details about Gran Canaria/Tenerife Training Camps

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