British team opens its doors in Spain
Team Sky has again created a permanent training base on Mallorca so its riders can travel to the Spanish island for key blocks of pre-season training.
The British team likes to work discreetly on the local roads and climbs but opened the doors of the Vanity Golf hotel to the media on Thursday to counter any doubts and suspicions about the team and why it so successful.
Geraint Thomas and most of the other riders from the so-called 'Classics Project' squad are racing successfully at the Tour Down Under, but most of the riders who will form the squads to support Bradley Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia and then Chris Froome and Wiggins at the Tour de France were at the camp, clocking up quality training blocks under the careful eye of coach Tim Kerrison, performance manager Rod Ellingworth and team manager Dave Brailsford.
The camp was the first time Wiggins and Froome had spent any real time together since the Olympics last August. Their comments during the winter have done little to play down their personal ambitions and rivalry. They posed for photographs and followed Team Sky's carefully scripted message of non-belligerence when answering questions but their body language indicated they are far from best buddies. A change of Froome's early season race programme will see them race the Tour of Oman together but the real test of their relationship will come at the Tour de France.
All the 27 riders at Team Sky are closely followed by the team's coaching staff but are free to drop in and out of the camp. Most of the riders spend at least a week at a time on the island, doing blocks of specific training, divided by rest days. The Team Sky chef means they can follow special diets and soigneurs (the team calls them carers), mechanics and staff are on hand to give them full support.
The weather is not always perfect on Mallorca and heavy rain disrupting Thursday's scheduled rest day. The riders got in several hours on Wednesday but they were forced to ride on the rollers on Thursday morning before heading out for a spin later in the day.
Only Wiggins went out in the rain, wrapping himself up in team clothing and riding alone for several hours. He has personalised his training programme, riding more during the week and then heading home to the UK to spend time with his family. He will be back on the Mediterranean island on Monday and is set to make his season debut at the Challenge Mallorca race series early next month.
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