Sir Bradley Wiggins and Sean Kelly at the World Travel Market.

Sir Bradley Wiggins today once more proved what a remarkable ambassador he is for Majorca. Flying in from Colombia especially to assist in promoting sports tourism at the Balearics stand at the World Travel Market, Wiggins spoke of his affection for Majorca. “My home from home. I just love the place.”

He gave his full backing to Majorca as a cycling destination, and, in remarking that the Tour of Majorca (Challenge Ciclista a Mallorca) cycle race is “fantastic”, added that his team, called Wiggins, will be competing in next year’s tour: its 25th anniversary. A true mark of his support for Majorca was the fact that he declined to accept any payment for appearing at the WTM, where he was accompanied by Ireland’s Sean Kelly, one of the greats of road cycling in the 1980s, who, though he retired in 1994, still comes to Majorca at least three times a year.

World champion
Kelly, who also gave his full backing to Majorca, is closely involved with the Mallorca 312 race, and the seven-times world champion on the track, the Majorcan Joan Llaneras, acted as a kind of master of ceremony at the Balearics stand in introducing both these top cycling events.

Cycling was one of the principal themes today, the islands all giving their own presentations, and President Armengol inviting British tourists to come to Majorca in order to enjoy cycling and other activities, such as hiking, in the off-season and so assist in lengthening the tourist season. She added that cycling and other sports tourism has a mutual benefit for sportspeople, professional or recreational, who take advantage of the islands’ climate in autumn and winter, and for hotels, restaurants and shops which are “delighted to be able to offer their services to the visitors”.

Of presentations by Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza/Formentera, the one for Minorca had the assistance of the current champion of the Menorca Ultra Trail Costa Nord, the Scottish rider, Casey Morgan.

Tour de France
And, within the next few weeks, the first of the international cycling teams will begin arriving in Majorca for their winter training camps, in particular Team Sky which will start preparing its defense of the Tour de France title won by Chris Froome this year.