The Vuelta a Menorca: Friday 29th – Sunday 31th October
In October 2001, Arturo first launched a cycle-tourist event that was intended to cover Menorca over three days, following the example of other similar events in which he had taken part. Inspired by the one held in Catalonia and he felt he could create something spectacular and a bit different in Menorca.
His love of cycling from a young age, his creativity and his amateur cycling days led him to set up the event. Menorca’s British past, Arturo’s network within the world of professional cycling and his grasp of the English language has hugely influenced the feel of the event.
I have been to Menorca many times. The first when I was just 12 years old… it is a fantastic island. It is honest, true and unspoilt. Arturo’s event is by far the best way to see Menorca on a bike.
Three Day Event
The three-day Tour of Menorca is a fantastic cycling sportive that promises great riding, great food and stunning scenery. The 20th edition kicks off on Friday 29th October and is centred around the square in Mahon.
Each day features a different route, out and back from the base, in the island’s capital. As you would expect, the event features mechanical and medical back-up, well stocked feed stations and a broom wagon, to sweep you up, if it all gets too much. There are rolling road closures, with the entire field cycling together along the Menorcan countryside.
People often use the word unique out of context. However, when describing the Vuelta a Menorca you would be correct in saying that it is unique in its format and the hospitality of the organiser Arturo Sintes. Arturo’s personality and friendly character results a wonderful jovial feel to the event – far removed from mass participation cycling sportives!
Despite some challenging distances, across the undulating landscape, there is the constant buzz of people chatting, laughing & posing questions to the professional riders. Post ride beverages flow and riders recount their story of the day.
Arturo, previously the President of the Cycling Federation for the Baleares, invites a number of current and past professional cyclist to the event – Albert Torres (from Movistar) & Mavi Garcia (Alé BTC Ljubljana) are among the current riders that have been invited.
Vuelta a Menorca Format
From year to year, the format varies slightly. Friday’s short ride is a little loosener and then there are two longer rides on the Saturday & Sunday.
In previous years, on the Friday, we have enjoyed a short 30-35km spin, touring the southern tip of the island, stopping for a tipple at Binifadet, a family owned vineyard on the edge of Sant Lluis. This is now a must stop for the Marsh family, every time we visit Menorca! This year the route takes you to the stunning location on the cliffs overlooking the sea in Cala’n Porter – Cova D’en Xoroi.
On Saturday it’s 100km, which includes one short, but steep, timed hill climb. The route takes in Alaior in the centre of the island, before heading to Ferreries, Es Mercadal, Es Migjorn and back to Es Mercadal for a snack lunch. The post lunch ride takes the group to Fornells a pretty fishing village on the north of the island, before a 20km blast back to Mahon.
In 2015 it was a 1.5km (10%) climb and lunch at Arturo’s bicycle museum in Es Mercadal, in the centre of the island.
Sunday is the most challenging day. Although the route is only 60km in length, it takes in the highest point on the island – Monte Toro (358m above sea level); the three kilometre climb, averaging more than eight per cent and seems to go on and on! There are prizes for first three male and female riders to the top and any local professionals who ride the sportive are not allowed to compete for this prize – but are more than happy to tow anyone to the top.
The event is concluded with a somewhat entertaining sit down lunch and prize giving. Very few riders escape a mention or a prize – everyone being called up on stage at some point or another. The British contingent were made to feel very welcome and singled out for praise & friendly banter.
Historically, there are approximately 300 riders of which around about 100 are British! The rest of the riders are made up of clubs and individuals from Menorca and Mallorca, with many riders taking the ferry between Mallorca and Menorca just for the event.
The entry for all three days costs just €70 (60€ for those with a Federation license) and can be made on https://www.menorcacicloturista.com/ – entries must be completed before 27th October – to make life easier I would definitely recommend staying near Mahon.
Vuelta a Menorca Itinerary
Friday 18th October – 3:45pm
- 30km – The ride departs the Ferial Poima-Maó Exhibition on the edge of Mahon
- The route heads out to Cala’n Porter and visits the restaurant in the cave
- At 7:30pm there is a welcome presentation with some wine and nibbles.
Saturday 19th October – 9am
- 100km – The ride departs from the square in the centre of Mahon at 9am and returns at about 1.30pm.
- The route takes in Alaior in the centre of the island & Fornells on the northern coast.
Sunday 20th October – 8:45am
- 60km – The ride departs the square at 8:45am and returns at 12:30pm.
- The route includes the 3km ascent of Monte Toro.
- Farewell lunch, with the presentation of trophies, at the Recinto Ferial Poima–Maó at 13.30
Ses Rotes – Cycling, Wine & Horses
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