You no doubt felt envious watching La Vuelta on our TV screens this week. This year’s race kicked off with a time-trial in Burgos, a fast and furious event in which the world’s fastest riders shot up and down the city’s quaint cobbled streets. The sun shone, the sky was blue, riders rolled down the start ramp with the grand cathedral towering over them, a proud symbol of the architectural riches this small city contains.
Ancient convents and churches aren’t all that Burgos offers, though. The town is home to Burgos BH, the UCI ProTeam competing at the highest level of the sport since obtaining ProTeam status four years ago. Perhaps best known for their attacking style and constant fight to get themselves into the breakaway, the team have a passionate way of racing. In the 2019 Vuelta a España, they finally reaped reward for their plucky confidence with Ángel Madrazo taking a stage win in their resplendent purple jerseys, the biggest victory for the team to date.
Such fighting spirit has made Burgos BH a popular team with fans as they have animated the – occasionally dull – opening kilometres of many stages in La Vuelta. Hoping to share their story with people all over the world, the Spanish outfit are offering a unique opportunity to gain an insight into the inner workings of the team and explore the roads that formed them into such fiery racers.
The 8-day experience, which takes place at the end of October, will be an immersive way to see the less-trodden parts of Spain including the Segovia, Burgos, La Rioja and Cantabria and Asturia regions. Not your typical destination for cycling holidays, the trip promises to be a unique discovery of rural Spain, exploring the culture and gastronomy of each area that will be covered en route.
Beginning in the team’s stomping ground, Burgos, the first day will be spent riding the roads of neighbouring province Segovia. Famous for its eye-catching Roman aqueduct and rolling scenery, tour guides with local knowledge will undoubtedly offer a usually unseen look at this part of the country.
The trip is not solely about riding, though, with cultural experiences peppered throughout to give attendees a full understanding of each area. Visits to local wineries, cathedrals and monasteries, as well as restaurants serving traditional Burgos dishes, fill each afternoon post-ride.
After an exploration of Burgos, the trip heads to the mountains of La Demanda to ride through the lush green hills around La Rioja, the region perhaps most famous for its vino tinto. A two Michelin star meal is also on the agenda for later in the day in the Restaurant Echaurren, well known as one of the finest in the region. Situated in the mountain village of Ezcaray, it is famous for innovative dishes and creativity in its menu design.
Back to bikes and the group will head for a guided visit of the Burgos BH headquarters, gaining an insight into the vehicles and infrastructure required to keep the cogs turning for a UCI ProTeam. Seeing the amount of kit required to keep a top-level team on the road is an eye-opener not to be missed.
The following day, the group transfers to Santander, the coastal city famous for white beaches and piercing blue sea – and the overnight ferries to Portsmouth and Plymouth, of course. With one of the team’s star riders, Ángel Madrazo, available to answer any questions about what it takes to win a Grand Tour stage, it’s the perfect opportunity to find out more about the lifestyle of professional bike riders. With the afternoon left to explore all that Santander has to offer, including a visit to the iconic Magdalena Palace, it is set to be a relaxing day by the sea.
It’s a good job, too, as the last two days of the trip include some slightly more testing parcours. Starting in the village of Hoznayo, the penultimate ride of the experience snakes along coastal roads and lower slopes of mountains to take in the breathtaking sights that the region has to offer. Upon return to Santander, it will be time to fuel up on local cuisine preparing for a testing final day.Lagos de Covadonga. Photo credit: Tim De Waele/ Getty Images
The route of the last ride begins in Asturias and follows part of the same route which the professional peloton will tackle during the 17th stage of this year’s Vuelta a España. The group will target Lagos de Covadonga, arguably one of the most iconic climbs in the race’s modern history. At 12 kilometres in length and with an average gradient of 7.3%, it’s a tough ascent which is rich with cycling heritage. With the likes of Thibaut Pinot and Nairo Quintana taking victory atop Covadonga in recent years, it’s certainly one for the mountain goats.
One of the most challenging sectors is La Huesera, part of the climb with an average gradient of 15% over 800 metres. Burgos BH plans to have participants of the ride well equipped for the brutal slopes, though, with BH G8 bikes being provided for the duration of the trip. Finished with electronic shifting and serviced by professional mechanics after each ride, there will be no excuses not to make it to the top of Lagos de Covadonga on such a trusty steed.
Physiotherapists, provisions of winter and summer cycling kit and support vehicles driven by team staff creates a fully professional environment. Riders from Burgos BH will be partaking in each ride, too, so advice will be on hand from those who ride these climbs regularly.
Burgos BH’s experience is set to be a true immersion in Spanish cycling culture in the regions that have been home to so many famous bike races. While there will be some challenging riding and insights into the professional peloton, the trip is also set to be a learning experience whereby the heritage of each area can be explored in all its glory.
With luxury accommodation, relaxing transfers and visits to the finest restaurants, it's the perfect opportunity for those of us glued to our screens watching La Vuelta this week to discover some lesser-known parts of Spain for ourselves.
If you are interested in attending the trip, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Produced in association with Burgos BH