Training camp report: Rolling on the Costa Blanca
There are less than two weeks to go until Christmas, and while many are thinking about gifts and sweets while decorating their tree in a winter wonderland scenery, the Etixx – Quick-Step riders are having part of a different kind of backdrop, consisting of palm trees, sun and hills, as they attend the team's first camp ahead of 2016. For them, the Christmas frenzy can wait a little bit more, with road training and core stability sessions prevailing over the holiday spirit, otherwise so specific to this time of the year.
Five days ago, the team reunited in Denia to a quiet and enchanting small hotel, officially signaling the start of the new season. Riders (including the eight new ones), sport directors, mechanics, physiotherapists and soigneurs – you name it – there were all ready to begin working towards the next season, one in which everyone hopes to replicate the performances and victories with which the team got accustomed in the past years.
On the first two days, as the weather wasn't so kind with the team, the riders went to some photo shooting in the new kit, which served also as a good way of having fun and building a strong cohesion between the cyclists, a cohesion which will more than sure be seen on the road next year. Eventually, the sun came up and allowed the guys to finally start training, after two days of staying in the hotel and working in the gym to build core and muscle strength.
First day of training brought a 3-4 hours easy ride, with the pace and the difficulty being upped as the week progressed. Slowly, but steady, the Etixx – Quick-Step riders found their rhythm and put in a few kilometers on the beautiful roads of Costa Blanca. But as one thing doesn’t exclude the other, being involved in long training sessions didn’t mean the fun was out of the picture, so Friday evening the team gathered in the hotel’s dining room to wish Zdenek Stybar a happy birthday as he turned 30.
With one week left of the camp, the cyclists will continue to work hard and give it all to be in top shape at the start of next season which is just around the corner, the 17th of January seeing the team race on two continents, in the Tour Down Under – the first World Tour event of 2016 – and the Tour de San Luis.