"I spoke too soon saying we were able to train in good weather conditions," CSC's team director Scott Sunderland to Cyclingnews this morning from the team's base in Italy. "Last week it was sunny and 14°c; now we can't even go out training anymore! Yesterday we already could see it coming, but we had no idea it was going to cause such havoc. The hotel manager said this weather is very unusual, but nonetheless it's causing us some worry. This morning, we woke up and we're completely snowed in. I don't know if we'll get off this mountain to get the riders to the airport in time."
Unexpected and uncharacteristically heavy snowfall has turned the countryside around Artiminio into a ski-resort like picture. Although the riders can enjoy the comfort and the magnificent views from their rooms in the four star Albergo Paggeria Medicea in Prato, a small degree panic is starting to set in. "Bjarne is trying to find a way to get the heavy trucks and equipment down the mountain; we'll have to come up with something good quickly I'm afraid."
Team CSC's Carsten Jeppesen commented from the hotel, "Especially during this second training camp, the hotel staff has almost become a part of the team, and their flexibility and positive attitude has been extremely important as the riders are obviously frustrated about the situation, and just want to get on with their training." Most of the riders have had a cold or flu, but still they have been going full gas during the training sessions - weather permitting.
Fortunately for Sunderland and the CSC crew, they did get a break in the snowstorm later on Thursday and managed to leave Prato, expecting to arrive in Melle, near Gent in Belgium, sometime on Friday afternoon.