Rabobank heads for the seas
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Rabobank heads for the seas

by Nick Mulder at 6:35 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 

Like Bjarne Riis’ Team Saxo Bank, Rabobank has opted to hold a pre-season team building camp as well, but instead of the pleasant climate of the Canary Islands, the Dutch Pro-Tour squad is holding their camp on the open waters. The bright orange clad riders and staff set sails Wednesday morning from Harlingen, one of Holland’s Northern ports. A group of 50 people, composed of riders and staff, divided themselves onto two large sailing boats to visit Holland’s Northern islands.

“This is our first team gathering with all the new riders for next year. Every year we do something different. The riders don’t have to be training that seriously now, they can start that after this camp” explained Director Sportif and newly appointed technical manager Erik Breukink to RaboSport.

“It is very important for all the riders and staff to be together. There will be a lot of talk about next year, the race program and their goals. This marks the start of the season and it’s an important beginning to each year” he continued.

One of the common themes for team building camps is cooperation, for Rabobank this is no different, reversing the roles between riders and staff to facilitate a family feel. “Throughout the whole year the riders are surrounded and taken care of by all the staff members, including mechanics, trainers, soigneurs, team directors, and doctors. Now it’s time for something different, the riders have to go out and buy several days worth of supplies and cook. We are on two boats with 25 people each so it will take quite some organization, they are really going to have to put their heads together for this one,” explained team trainer Louis Delahaye.

A combination of nervousness and excitement filled the Rabobank camp as they prepared to board the large vessels. Robert Gesink, a podium contender for next year’s Tour de France, was sporting a warm orange sailing vest, “I think it’s great for the atmosphere to do something different. I think everyone is really looking forward to the trip, doing something other than just biking that will build strong bonds for the future.”

His words were echoed by Dutch Time trial champion Stef Clement, “It’s a different way of being together, doing things we normally might not do. We’ll get to know the staff and each other better. It really creates a family feeling among all 50 people in situations we aren’t accustomed to especially with the role reversal.”

Rabobank hopes that this sea excursion will strengthen the bonds between the riders as they face new challenges in the upcoming season. With Gesink and Russian Denis Menchov, Rabobank has two strong riders for the Grand Tours, the focus on teambuilding might make a world of difference since victory often comes down to a matter of seconds.

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