For six years, ex-army officer B.S Christiansen has been working with Team CSC during their annual training camp in the areas of mental and physical strength in preparation for a gruelling season. He's made plenty of progress by instilling core values within the squad, and it shows, with a cohesive unit that gets results. "Our motto is: If you're happy, you can win anything, if you're sad you won't win anything whatsoever. It's my job to look after the guys who are a bit down, because it always shows if they have problems, which we can then deal with", Christiansen explains.
Christiansen is a full-time staff member of Riis Cycling, but his work plans are flexible with the needs of the riders. "Naturally I discuss the races in which I'll help with Bjarne Riis, but if I feel there's a special need for my assistance in other races, I can choose them myself. If an emergency situation should arise anywhere, I can go. I always participate in all the training camps, the Tour and some of the big races, though," he adds.
Well-known for a fresh approach to their pre-season camps, CSC recently headed out with for their annual pre-season camp with the likes of new recruit Stuart O'Grady, getting busy with some sailing to develop teamwork and achieving goals while having fun. Many teams are adopting CSC's approach, with T-Mobile heading to the Austrian alps for team bonding in the snow, along with some adventure, fun and games for Ullrich and co.
Christiansen has been assisting the CSC squad for six years now, something he's enjoyed immensely and is now vital to the team's success. "Bjarne Riis contacted me and said that he wanted to build up the best cycling team in the world, an ambition I liked a lot. So I just told him I'm ready!. It was a great challenge. Actually, I think that the reason that I'm here is that I fit into Bjarne's philosophy, and his way of working. I challenge him too."
Riis enjoys Christiansen's ability to think outside the square, something that most people notice about CSC. "Had I just been a 'yes man', I'd been fired," explains Christiansen. "I'm here as long as I'm needed by him. I don't know a damn about cycling sports, though. But that doesn't interest me - what interests me is what makes people achieve top results, how they co-operate between the many nationalities we have on our team. You really have to co-operate to achieve the common ambitions. It's team work - a big challenge", he says, smiling.
Christiansen believes that it's his honest approach and willingness to challenge and support Riis that makes their partnership so successful. "No matter what he does, I support him, as he's the one in charge. I just inform him about what I see, but it's always Bjarne who makes the final decision - so I'm just a kind of consultant. Many believe that a consultant can make decisions too, but I don't decide anything. It's crucial that Bjarne is the one taking the decisions, otherwise people would loose their trust in him. I have a great deal of respect for Bjarne".
Courtesy of Jesper Johannesen, www.feltet.dk