Omega Pharma Quick Step riders knuckle down to important pre-season work with Spanish training camp
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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Omega Pharma Quick Step riders knuckle down to important pre-season work with Spanish training camp

by Shane Stokes at 12:22 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Stars and water carriers get together with goal of successful 2014 campaign

Omega Pharma Quick StepWith a Classics comeback a major goal for Tom Boonen, a return to the top level in the Tour de France a target for Mark Cavendish and various other objectives for the team’s other riders, the Omega Pharma Quick Step squad will work on an all-important foundation for the 2014 season at its first training camp.

The squad will travel to Hotel Oliva Nova in Oliva for an eleven day stay, starting tomorrow and running until Thursday week, December 19th.

In addition to being an opportunity for the riders to clock up important kilometres at this point of the year, they will also use the opportunity to build relationships and group cohesion, to get to know new team-mates, and to fine-tune bike position and familiarize themselves with any new equipment.

Team trainer Koen Pelgrim said that the team chose the location deliberately, preferring a venue with flat roads in order to gradually build things up rather than impose high demands right away.

“We can put together some easy kilometres and if we want we can also go inland to look for some more challenging routes,” he said, explaining the benefits of Oliva, which is eighty kilometres from Valencia.

“As we always do in December, we’ll ride lots of kilometres at a relatively low intensity to build up basic endurance but we’ll also do some more specific work. During the camp we’ll simulate some sprints and ideal combinations of our athletes for the Cavendish train and we’ll work on the time trial bike, both individually and as well as for the team time trials we’ll be facing during the year.”

Riders will have an opportunity to gauge their fitness coming out of their annual break from racing and time off the bike, with a lactate threshold due to be carried out by staff from the Bakala Academy. That will give riders a better idea of where they are at this point in time and also provide pointers and training figures in order to maximise the work they will do in the weeks ahead.

Pelgrim says that there will also be opportunities to benefit from some other figures too. “Some of the athletes from the team will be busy on the track in Valencia in some aerodynamic and development tests with our partner Specialized, which is always very attentive to technical details and the development of our bicycles.”

The riders will also be photographed and filmed, with this material being of major importance in terms of the promotion of the team and also for sponsor use.

The Omega Pharma Quick Step team had a successful 2013 season, clocking up a superb total of 55 wins. These included the successful defence of its world team time trial champion’s jersey, two Tour de France stage wins by Mark Cavendish plus the victories of Tony Martin and Matteo Trentin in the same race, Cavendish’s five Giro sprint victories and Zdenek Stybar’s Vuelta a España stage seven success.

The squad likely wants to equal or exceed that performance in the upcoming year. Cavendish is also determined to get back up to full speed, having seen his mantle as the world’s fastest sprinter pass to quadruple Tour de France stage winner Marcel Kittel.

Conscious that his rivals have made up ground compared to recent years, he is doing extra sprint work this winter in order to try to improve his speed.

However the 2009 Milan-Sanremo winner has ruled out returning to that Classic, saying in recent days that the changes to the course make it too difficult for a rider with his characteristics to win. He has suggested that he might not ride it again unless the route is changed.

Whether or not he ultimately does, the focus now is on the 2014 season. He and the other riders will continue their work this coming week, conscious that getting things right now will help them in the months ahead.


Also see: 2014 Omega Pharma Quick Step team kit revealed

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