Video: Omega Pharma Quick Step bonds in team building exercises in Belgium
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Video: Omega Pharma Quick Step bonds in team building exercises in Belgium

by VeloNation Press at 8:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Boonen, Martin, Leipheimer and others get acquainted in muddy surroundings

Tom BoonenContinuing a tradition of pre-season team bonding exercises, the Omega Pharma – Quick Step team came together this week, enabling riders such as Tom Boonen, world time trial champion Tony Martin, USA Pro Cycling Challenge winner Levi Leipheimer and others to get to know each other.

While the core of the Quick Step team remains, there are no fewer than a dozen new additions to the team, which has a new look, different lineup and additional sponsors for 2012.

As the embedded video shows, there were a variety of tasks set for the riders to encourage them to work together and to interact, with the aim of building the kind of group spirit which could see the team land some big victories once the season begins.

The team presentation was held on Monday; that evening, the team-building exercises began in the Zilvermeer Park in Mol, Belgium. The first activities were strength and coordination tests laid on for the riders to encourage them to work together; this notion of group cooperation was continued on Tuesday with technical and physical tasks laid on for them.

That evening the team was split into eight groups, with a treasure hunt being held over twelve kilometres in the forest. Finally things concluded on Wednesday morning with tests of mental strength and organisational skills. In all Omega Pharma Quick Stepover 40 hours of activities were carried out and, despite the Irish road race champion running into a tree while blindfolded, Matt Brammeier led his group to victory.

Boonen has been with the team for most of his career and he was clear that the team building exercises were worthwhile. “We’re coming away from this experience much richer,” he explained. “We had a great time working together, helping each other and sometimes coming up with strategies to find the best way to overcome obstacles that came up along the way. There was a winning mix of athletes and staff.

“I now know a lot of my team mates a lot better and I know how they react in different situations. I think it’s the same for them. We’re definitely approaching the season with a fantastic sense of team spirit.”

That spirit will be necessary as the year ahead is a very important one for the team. It will be racing against super-teams such as the BMC Racing Team of Cadel Evans, Philippe Gilbert and Thor Hushovd, the RadioShack Tom BoonenNissan squad of Fabian Cancellara, Andy and Frank Schleck, plus Chris Horner and Andreas Klöden, and others, and must fight hard to win. In addition, the pressure has been increased somewhat by the addition of Omega Pharma as a sponsor; the team has a bigger budget, a better lineup, but also greater pressure to achieve.

Team coach Tom Steels echoes Boonen’s assessment of the three day exercise. “We spent two days together in situations which seemed completely different from those which we normally encounter during races, but they were situations in which trust and the power of the pack were fundamental elements,” he explained.

“We’ve reached the goals we set for ourselves. The guys worked hard and had a great time. They helped each other out and challenged each other in some friendly competition. Now we also have a better idea of the group aspects we need to work on in the future.”

Images from the camp can be seen below. (Video courtesy of the Omega Pharma Quick Step team)





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