‘Over-raced’ Silence-Lotto riders to cut programme
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Thursday, November 5, 2009

‘Over-raced’ Silence-Lotto riders to cut programme

by Conal Andrews at 7:51 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling

The Silence Lotto team has resolved to cut the amount of races that it does after a study has determined that its riders clocked up the most racing kilometres during 2009.

Three Belgian riders from the team figure in the top four of the list, which was made up from the top-ranked UCI races. It was topped by its rider Christophe Brandt, who covered 16,641 kilometres (10,340 miles) in competition during the season. This was just over 300km ahead of the 16,348 reached by team-mate Oliver Kaisen.

One of the revelations of the season, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) was third with 16,105 kilometres (10,007 miles), while another Silence-Lotto Belgian was fourth. Philippe Gilbert raced 15,987 kilometres (9934 miles) but this clearly did not wear him out, with the Classic specialist netting his fourth consecutive end-of-season win when he took the Tour of Lombardy.

Three out of that top four also clocked up the most race days; these were Kaisen (103 days), Brandt (102) and Gilbert (97).

Silence Lotto took just twelve wins in 2009, prompting speculation that the riders were over-raced. "It is an integral part of the Belgian cycling culture,” explained its director Mark Sergeant. “If a professional Belgian rider does not race on the bike in two weeks, he thinks ‘oh dear, what now?’ It is not always the best response, I think. We actually race too much.

“That said, men on the list don’t necessarily have bad performances…look at Philippe Gilbert, as an example. But for others, like Van Avermaet, in 2009 it was a little too much. "

As a result, he said that the team will go to less races next season. "We will cut back the program and give up races such as Etoile de Bessèges, Grosseto, Coppi e Bartali and create space for some training camps and some more rest. It is necessary in modern cycling. As an example, look at Edvald Boasson Hagen: in the spring I first saw him in Gent-Wevelgem, but he won the race.”

Jurgen Van Den Broeck is another rider who thrived on less racing. He covered just 9,618 kilometres, putting him 394th in the list. The 26 year old was fifteenth overall in this year’s Tour de France.

"It’s not the same for everyone,” said Sergeant. “A low number of races means that you need to train hard and you have to be mentally ready for that.”

The Katusha team also did a lot; Filippo Pozzato, Serguei Klimov and Nikita Eskov also featured in the top ten.


The top distances clocked up in 2009:

1st Christophe Brandt (Belgium / Silence-Lotto) 16,641 kilometres/10,340 miles
2nd Olivier Kaisen (Belgium / Silence-Lotto) 16,348 kilometres/10,158 miles
3rd Johnny Hoogerland (Netherlands / Vacansoleil) 16,105 kilometres/10,007 miles
4th Philippe Gilbert (Bel / Silence-Lotto) 15,987 kilometres/9934 miles
5th Filippo Pozzato (Italy / Katusha) 15,320 kilometres/9519 miles
6th Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden / Fuji Servetto) 15,299 kilometres/9506 miles
7th Matteo Tosatto (Italy / Quickstep) 15,220 kilometres/9457 miles
8th Serguei Klimov (Russia / Katusha) 14,920 kilometres/9271 miles
9th Nikita Eskov (Russia / Katusha) 14,903 kilometres/9260 miles
10th Christian Knees (Germany / Milram) 14,869 kilometres/9239 miles


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