By Susan Westemeyer
Team CSC has completed its traditional team-building exercises, held this year in the snow at Hovden, Norway. Training leader B.S. Christiansen called the session a success, saying, "I'm very happy and satisfied with the outcome. Everyone's accounted for and there are no casualties. I'm convinced that they can all take some of what they've learned here and use it in their job as well as in their private lives. This is very important in order for Team CSC to make it through next season on the roads."
Several riders came down with the flu during the training, and Karsten Kroon left early to be with his wife when she delivered their second child. Jens Voigt did not attend, but stayed home in Berlin to await the birth of his fifth child. Not only the riders were involved but also all of the other team personnel, including soigneurs, mechanics, and office staff.
The training involved cross-country skiing, cold and lots of snow. "The main purpose of this year's team trip was to get back to our roots – or back to basics, which is why the camp was deliberately planned as being very tough. Everyone had to go through difficult tests. There were a total of five teams, which had to find a way of working together under the worst weather conditions with frost and snow and where the consequences of each individual's actions were easily measured. If you were to make a mistake you paid the price immediately," according to Christianesen, on the team's website, team-csc.com.
"Teamwork was a key factor for everyone to get through this ordeal safely. Each team had to carry what is necessary to survive in the cold for three days and nights."
Team manager Bjarne Riis was also pleased. "We've gotten a closer look at everyone in the organization. Of course it's been really tough this time, and I've put high demands on the riders so the strong could help the not so strong. The purpose of this has been not to see a bunch of individuals – each their own superman, but a strong united group working together as a team. You could say that the rider's jobs were to help the 'weak,' which generally meant the staff and administration, through the various tests, where normally it's the staff and administration, who help the riders."