The team of Lotto Belisol, who recently received their ProTeam license for 2013, gathered on the Spanish island of Mallorca for ten days of proper training. There wasn't any time for recreational activities like abseiling, climbing or kite-flying at this camp.
The team was divided into three groups for the ten-day camp with a small contingent led by Jurgen Van Den Broeck looking toward building foundation in the lead-up to the 100th edition of the Tour de France. Team sports director Herman Frison explained that all the riders had at least a few weeks of training in their legs before coming to the small island in the Mediterranean where more specific work would be undertaken.
"Following a long season, all the riders and staff are glad to have a few weeks to find some peace, but this remains what they prefer doing. Team camps is one of the only times that almost everyone is together, because mid-January swarms everyone and some people I only see again in September," said Frison to lottobelisol.be.
"Unlike before, the riders have a proper foundation if they come here. As a sports manager you would immediately notice if someone has done all their homework. The season starts a lot earlier, with racing in Argentina, Australia and Gabon."
Despite the team's 27 victories in 2012, the team will no doubt look to build upon its success in the coming 12 months to ensure it does not experience license renewal issues again. The team's fast-man André Greipel would be expected to open his season in Australia at the Tour Down Under - after winning the 2008 and 2010 editions.
Greipel currently has 11 stage wins at the opening WorldTour round for 2013 and will need just one more to equal the record held by retired Orica-GreenEdge rider Robbie McEwen. McEwen holds the record at 12 for the most Down Under stage wins.
"For myself, the official kickoff is the Tour Down Under," said Frison. "So we go through the preparation toward the direction of the Spring Classics."
The team's Tour de France GC contender Van Den Broeck, is aiming toward improving on this year's fourth place overall and will be doing plenty of reconnaissance in the coming months, according to Frison.
"We do not know all the details, but all explorations of the rides in Corsica, the Alps and the Pyrenees are scheduled. This is important for Jurgen; good planning ensures peace of mind. And of course, I myself look forward to the 100th edition. To see Jurgen standing on the podium in Paris would be a great icing on the cake in the 100th edition (laughs out loud). But we are only at the start of what will be months of preparation."