By Jesper Johannesen, feltet.dk
CSC team manager Bjarne Riis gave a pre-training camp press conference on Thursday to explain how much he's looking forward to working with the new riders on the Danish squad's roster in 2006. He introduced most of the new arrivals, save for Marcus Ljunqvist, who was married the previous day with Kurt-Asle Arvesen as best man. Both made it to the training camp later on Sunday night, and if they thought they were going to relax, they got a shock: the survival trip will start at 23 o'clock Sunday night.
"The team work has proved to give results, and it's important that the new riders learn the values of the team and get to know the rest of the team. It's a part of our image", Riis added.
New riders nervous, but looking forward
Three of the new riders, Fabian Cancellara, Karsten Kroon and Stuart O'Grady, are looking forward for the survival camp, but at the same time they admit they're a bit nervous about what it will bring. "We don't know what they'll do this year, but they're doing it to strengthen the team spirit, for us to come closer to each other and strengthen our relationships the riders between," said Cancellara. "We're a lot of new people, both riders and other staff, and therefore it's very important that we learn to co-operate, regardless of you're a top rider or a domestique. What we're already doing now, is a very important start of the season."
Kroon added, "I think Team CSC is a very professional team, with a unique team spirit, and a great deal of respect in the peloton. A training camp like this is very good to me. Of course I know the other riders, but I'm the only one the team who lives in Belgium, so it's nice to meet the other riders. Therefore I think a training camp like this is a very good idea. I think it'll strengthen the team solidarity. I must admit, though, that I'm a bit nervous," he laughed, aware about what happened on last year's training camp. "I think it'll be tough, but I love challenges, so it'll be fun."
The Australian rider, Stuart O'Grady, is also looking forward to the training camp with a great deal of excitement. "It's always exciting to see which challenges we'll be given. I'm sure it'll be tough, and that we, in the end, will be very tired. I think it's very nice that the "bosses", mechanics and more participate in the camp. It really strengthens the solidarity. It'll be interesting, and I believe it'll be an important factor of the new season."