Marina Alta left out of European cycle route map
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.
By Samantha Kett