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Winter Training Destinations by Jiří Ježek: Seeking the Sun and the Dry Roads

By Jiri Jezek

The short days of winter time, icy conditions on the roads and temperatures below zero are keeping cyclists indoors. Spinning classes with a group of your friends, home trainer sessions in front of the TV, or regular virtual racing on Zwift can keep your legs spinning. You can also focus on different sports and activities, like jogging, cross-country skiing and some workout sessions in the gym. But to be honest, after a couple of weeks we all start missing the sun and the perfectly dry roads to ride on. Just like all pros and teams do, every cyclist should escape from the cold and spend some time at one of the popular cycling destinations, enjoying a mid-winter “training camp” or “riding holidays”, whatever you call your cycling trip to seek the sun…


My favourite winter training destination. This Spanish island is a real cycling paradise. Mallorca offers everything you need to enjoy a perfect training camp or a cycling holiday. Cycling tourism plays an important role in the local economy, especially between October and May, so this island is truly “cycling-friendly”. It is easy to get there thanks to good flight connections. Mallorca offers all kinds of terrain. You can do a 200km ride and you won’t get bored thanks to a wide variety of small roads. Or you can head to the mountains and spend all day going up and down through an amazing landscape with beautiful, breath-taking views. Mallorca is one of cycling “must-visit” destinations. The best months to visit are from October to January or April and May. My tip: Leave your at bike home. Travel “light” and enjoy the services of a cycling holiday incoming agency. You can rent a top racing bicycle and book a guided ride.

Gran Canaria

Stable weather conditions, winter temperatures around 20 °C and good-quality roads are the reasons why to choose Gran Canaria as your winter training destination, especially if you like climbing. The challenging profile of endless hairpin roads is a paradise for every climber. Be sure that training is very effective here, but with smart pace and appropriate gearing you don’t have to worry. Just forget about measuring your ride in kilometres. Don’t be surprised if after 5 hours of cycling your Garmin shows just around 100 kilometres. No wonder, with an elevation difference of 3,000 metres. A sunbed and a hotel pool will be your reward and a good post-ride recovery. The best months to visit are from November to March. A destination similar to Gran Canaria is Tenerife. Other islands, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, offer flatter road sections, but can be windier. My tip: Most hotels and resorts offer “all inclusive” catering. Go for it to save your time, energy and money.


Cyprus Sunshine Cup

This sunny island is well-known among mountain bikers thanks to regular early-spring international racing series called Sunshine Cup. Anyway, Cyprus offers a good environment for road cycling as well. You can start on flat sections and rolling roads of the southern coast. Then slowly build up your physical condition on short climbs in the green countryside of the inland. And if you need a challenge, climb up the road to Mt. Olympos, which is an almost 2,000m high mountain top in Troodos area. My tip: Arrive in March and try the Gran Fondo Cyprus, a popular mass road cycling event.


Cyclists on touring holiday near Montalcino, Val D’Orcia, Tuscany, Italy.

A popular Italian cycling destination. Rolling countryside with small roads and typical Italian villages offers more than just good riding. The cycling culture includes excellent espresso coffee, delicious food and the famous Chianti wine. I can recommend it all. And don’t forget to visit the main historical towns of the area, like Pisa, Siena or Florence. The best months to visit are October and November, and then late March and April. My tip: Forget about hotels. Rent a small house with your family or friends, cater for yourself and enjoy all of the local delis.

South Africa

False Bay

Very far from the cold European winter, you can be sure about the weather during South African summer season. The countryside around Cape Town offers an amazing cycling experience, no matter if you are a mountain biker or a road cyclist. Riding along the beautiful coast of False Bay, rolling on the scenic roads in the vineyard country around Stellenbosch or rocking all day on your MTB on single trails in the nature parks is simply unforgettable. And after an amazing day in the saddle, just sit down on the terrace with your friends and enjoy the splendid view and a glass of excellent wine or cold beer… The best months to visit are from December to March. My tip: Book a training camp with a whole package of guided group rides. It’s safer, more fun, and everything is organized for you just to enjoy it all.