You don't have to be a professional cyclist though to reap the benefits of cycling in Tenerife. It is a cycling paradise for riders of all levels; the sub-tropical climate, the perfect road surfaces, high number of excellent climbs and the ability to ride for extended periods at high altitude throughout the winter, all make it an excellent training destination. In addition, Tenerife has beautiful scenery, largely centered around Mount Teide - a 3,700m high volcano that forms the centre point of the island.
Whether you are preparing for a tough sportive, looking to hone your racing edge, or simply love to climb mountains in warm weather conditions; below we look at how you can use Tenerife to your advantage.
Our cycling holiday to the island offers a combination of great climbs, superb hotels and takes care of all the bike hire and transfers so that you can just concentrate on the cycling! It is also multi-centre, allowing you to discover nearly all of the island and ensuring that you don't have to ride the same routes more than once.
Professional Team Astana are already booked in for a training camp in mid-late February 2015, and other teams, including Sky, are expected to be there as well. So if you are free at that time, it could be a great opportunity to share the roads and see if you can keep up with the likes of Vincenzo Nibali and Fabio Aru.
Altitude TrainingThe main reason that Tenerife has become so popular with professional cycling teams is because of the opportunities that it offers for altitude training. The likes of Froome, Nibali and Aru will be on the island again in February 2015, staying and training mostly above 2,000m altitude.
The long term benefits of altitude training are inconclusive. In the short term, however, training at high altitude increases the number of red blood cells, improving the amount of oxygen that can be carried to the muscles. This affect continues for at least a few weeks once you return to a more normal altitude, allowing you to train harder and with more power during that time - potentially breaking through plateaus and improving your cycling performance.
Altitude training also helps you to get used to the different sensations that you will feel above 2,000m - a factor which can greatly help your performance if you are planning to do a sportive in the Alps or Pyrenees later in the year.
Of course there are other places in Europe where you can stay and cycle over 2,000 metres, but in February these are usually covered under several feet of snow.
Excellent ClimbsAltitude training works so well in Tenerife because it is such a mountainous island; there is barely a flat road to be found and the whole place is littered with fantastic climbs.
The most famous and iconic climb is Mount Teide - a huge volcano that basically comprises the entire island. There are numerous different routes to climb Teide, with the longest over 50km; it is a relatively gentle ascent giving you plenty of time to take in the magnificent scenery.
Elsewhere on the island, there are some superb climbs in the Añaga Natural Park in the north and around the villages of Masca and Icod de los Vinos in the west. These range from shorter, steeper climbs to longer more sustained ascents which are very similar to what you will find in the Alps or the Pyrenees.
For more information on some of the great climbing routes see here.
RoadsThe road infrastructure is superb in Tenerife. Nearly all routes have been recently re-laid and so the climbs and descents are super smooth and enjoyable to ride. On most of the cycling routes there is not a lot of traffic anyway, but in January and February it is even more reduced than during the rest of the year.
Tenerife is similar to Mallorca in this respect, with beautifully paved roads that don't even seem to have any purpose except to admire the stunning scenery. The road planners there must have been cyclists.
WeatherThe other key benefit to Tenerife as a winter cycling destination is the weather. The climate is sub-tropical and daytime temepratures rarely drop below 20°C during the winter. To give you an idea of where Tenerife is based geographically - if you head due east you will reach the Sahara Desert within 600km. If you head due west, you will end up somewhere in the middle of Florida.
Rain is very uncommon and is usually in the form or light drizzle if it does arrive. In January to March, the most popular period for cyclists, Tenerife averages a total rainfall of 50mm (two inches), with an average of just 1.5 rainy days per month.
For cyclists without a specific training goal in mind, Tenerife is still a superb destination for a cycling holiday. It is home to some of the most spectacular scenery in Spain, with a National Park as well as several smaller Natural Parks.
There are few other places in the world where you can go from a picturesque beach overlooking the ocean, to a vast volcano and then to a beautiful historic town - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - all in a day's riding.
AccessibilityTenerife has two airports, one in the north and one in the south of the island. Both airports have flights to and from wide range of European destinations and there are several low cost airlines that fly there regularly throughout the year.
It is also possible to catch the ferry to Tenerife from mainland Spain, but it is a long crossing (between 30 and 40 hours depending on the route) and is significantly more expensive than most flights.
If you would like more information about cycling in Tenerife, or would be interesting in our fully customisable Cycling Tour around the island, please feel free to contact us, and we would be happy to help.
If you are booked on one our cycle tours and would like us to assist you in the booking of train tickets, please do not hesitate to contact us.