By Antonio J. Salmerón
The Spaniards Alejandro Valverde (Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank), as well as the Belgian Tom Boonen (Quick Step) will be the main protagonists of the 16th Cycling Challenge de Mallorca, scheduled to take place from February 11-15. A total of 19 squads from many nationalities will participate; including ten Spanish ones. Further big names also taking part are Erik Zabel (Team Milram), Gilberto Simoni (Saunier Duval) and Francisco Mancebo (Relax-Gam).
The Challenge de Mallorca will as usual be divided into five stages, which add up to a total of 733 kilometres. The first stage will start on Sunday, February 11, in Palma de Mallorca. The Challenge will then continue from Cove Millor to Cala Bona (159.7 km), Pollença to Isla Colomer (161.4 km), and from Sóller to Port de Sóller, before starting for the last time in Magalluf. The first race of the Spanish 2007 calendar will then finish in Palmanova, on Thursday 15.
The Challenge de Mallorca will be broadcast by Teledeporte (TVE) during the week, and by La 2 of TVE on the weekend, in addition to a local television. The negotiations for coverage between the Spanish Race Organisers Association and the public national television, TVE, thus continue in search of reaching a satisfactory agreement.