Several UCI World Tour teams will take part, including Team Sky, Movistar, Trek Cycling Racing and the newly merged Cannondale Garmin. Here we look at the route in more detail and suggest some riders to look out for on each day.
The RouteAs usual for the Vuelta Mallorca, the route is a series of consecutive one day challenges (or trophies as the organisers choose to call them), rather than a stage race. This is because riders have the option of not participating on some of the days, so it can not be classed as a stage race under UCI rules.
The struture of the course has changed slightly from the one used in the last few years. The traditional short circuit race around the city of Palma has been scrapped, and there are now just four consecutive days of racing between 150km and 170km in length.
Teams & Riders To Look Out For**Riders are yet to be confirmed, but the star names highlighted are in the squads and will probably take part in at least one of the trophies.
UCI Pro TourTeam Sky (Wiggins, Viviani, Swift, Deignan)
Movistar (Valverde, Rojas, Izaguirre, Visconti)
Lotto Soudal (Greipel, Wellens, Vanendert)
Cannondale-Garmin (Martin, Navardauskas)
Trek Factory Racing (Cancellara, Mollema, Schleck, Nizzolo)
IAM Cycling (Chavanel, Coppel)
Continental ProfessionalCaja Rural (Arroyo, Mas)
Sprandi Polkowice (Rebellin, Schumacher, Szmyd, Bole)
Cult Energy (Gerdermann, Wegmann)
MTN - Qhubeka (Ciolek, Bos, Boasson-Hagen)
Bora Argon (Barta)
Continental UCIMurias Taldea
Roth - Skoda
Team Froy Oslo
National TeamsGreat Britain
29/01 - Trofeo SantanyiThe first day is a loop around the flatter southern part of Mallorca. The finish makes the stage more interesting than it could have been, with a couple of short climbs (very short in fact, at less than 60m altitude) in the last 15km. These would not be enough to split the bunch in a Grand Tour stage, but, on a race like this with some teams easing their way into the season, it could allow a break to succeed, or at least for some of the sprinters to be left behind.
Nevertheless, a bunch sprint is probably the more likely option. Andre Greipel is probably the favourite, particularly given his tendency to hoover up wins in the slightly less prestigious races. It will be interesting to see how Nacer Bouhanni goes with his new Cofidis lead out train. MTN-Ghubeka will have a choice of sprinters to contest for the stage win - whether any of them are actualy fast enough to beat the likes of Greipel and Bouhanni is debatable.
30/01 - Trofeo AndratxThe Trofeo Andratx crosses the entire length of the Tramuntana Mountains, starting from Andratx in the south and finishing on a short climb near to Port de Pollenca in the north of the island. The main cimb of the day is Puig Major - the longest on the island. At around 14km in length and with an average gradient of just under 7%, Puig Major is not a hard climb by professional cycling standards, but it is certainly enough to bring the climbers out to play.
Puig Major is too far from the finish to make it a true climbing stage, but expect to see a puncheur win, largely due to the final 200m ascent right at the end of the day. The final climb, along the first part of the beautiful Cap de Formentor, is long and steep enough to get rid of any sprinters and the long, gradual descent beforehand would make it difficult for a break to stay away.
If this race was taking place in April, you would expect a great showdown between Alejandro Valverde and Dan Martin - the two strongest puncheurs in the field. However, both may come into the race slightly undercooked, so don't be surprised to see other less heralded riders take the stage.
Team Sky spend a lot of time training in Mallorca and will know the climbs well; Bradley Wiggins lacks the punch to win a finish like this, but don't be surprised to see Philip Deignan try something.
31/01 - Trofeo Serra de TramuntanaThis will be the second consecutive day in the mountains and the course looks well suited for a breakaway win. Given the nature of the route, with few flat sections, expect to see riders go early. Many of the early climbs have very technical descents, which will help the break gain time on the main bunch.
The main problem for a break will come in the final ten kilometres, where the road continues gently up hill (at a gradient of around 4%) and riders would have to work together well to prevent the peloton from getting back to them.
The main climbs of the day are the Coll de Sa Batalla and Coll d'Honor. Neither are very difficult, but the numerous other small climbs along the route add up to provide a decent early season test.
The best bet for this stage would be a rider happy to go on a long solo break. Failing that, it may come down to a reduced bunch sprint, where some second tier sprinters may get the chance to shine.
01/02 - Trofeo PalmaThe final trophy has one short climb in the middle of the stage - Es Grau - but this will almost certainly be one for the sprinters, with the last 30km almost completely flat.
On top form it would be very hard to see anyone other than Greipel or Bouhanni claiming the win. However, in these early season races it is difficult to assess the form of riders. Team Sky generally start the season strongly, so Elia Vivana could go well, while Cannondale-Garmin's Ramunas Navardauskas has also done well on similar stages in previous years.