Ma­rina Alta left out of Euro­pean cy­cle route map

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - LOCAL SPORT - By Saman­tha Kett

Re­gional gov­ern­ment's lapse ig­nores pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tion for pro teams and ama­teurs, up­set­ting hote­liers

A Europe-wide cy­cle route has left the Ma­rina Alta out al­to­gether – even though it has be­come a Mecca for the sport with in­ter­na­tional teams based there most of the year.

Cre­ated by the re­gional gov­ern­ment, the Eurov­elo 8 map links cy­cle routes across the three prov­inces of Va­len­cia, Ali­cante and Castel­lón with oth­ers on the con­ti­nent, cov­er­ing over 500 kilo­me­tres.

It con­nects the Greek cap­i­tal of Athens with the south­ern Span­ish city of Cádiz, run­ning along the coast of the Co­mu­nidad Va­len­ciana as far as Gan­dia (La Safor), be­fore turn­ing in­land to­wards nearby Vil­la­longa.

Once it hits the Ali­cante prov­ince bor­der, the route wends its way through Al­coy and Ibi be­fore re­turn­ing to the coast at Ali­cante city, then down to the south­ern re­gion of An­dalucía.

Yet the Ma­rina Alta is one of the most pop­u­lar cy­cling des­ti­na­tions in Spain, and has been the venue for stages on the Vuelta a Es­paña, the coun­try's an­swer to the Tour de France.

And sev­eral in­ter­na­tional pro­fes­sional teams set up their win­ter bases in the dis­trict, in­clud­ing Team As­tana from Kaza­khstan, which pre­sented its new mem­bers in Calpe in De­cem­ber.

La Sella Golf Re­sort in La Xara al­ways has 10% of its rooms taken up by world-class cy­cle teams – in fact, for the last few years, Olympic gold medal­list Greg van Aver­maet – Bel­gium's Rio 2016 roads cham­pion – has been at La Sella with his CCC De­vel­op­ment Team.

Pack­age deals for top cy­clists have been launched at the re­sort, to in­clude yoga classes tai­lored to bik­ers, TRX train­ing, re­pair and valet­ing work­shops, and full in­for­ma­tion on the best routes.

Ho­tels in Calpe have joined La Sella in crit­i­cis­ing the re­gional gov­ern­ment's lapse in hav­ing left one of the top cy­cling dis­tricts off its Euro­pean map.

The car­tog­ra­phers be­hind the project have so far de­clined to com­ment.

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