By Mark Zalewski
To boil down the Garmin-Slipstream team into one word, it would have to be 'culture.' From both within the team and to outsiders looking in, the most highlighted aspect is that the foundation of how management runs this team is different from any other. Last year this camp was a newer concept within the sport, being so early before the season and comprised of so many off-the-bike aspects designed to create a coherent team. Having a pre-camp allows the staff and riders to get a lot of the necessary, but time-consuming, aspects of beginning a new season out of the way, so that when the actual training camp rolls around in January the riders can focus on riding without distractions.
The time spent before getting down to the actual training and racing seemed to pay off last year, with a team of riders that enjoyed actually being together. The team took this idea to new levels beyond the camp, including housing most of the riders together in a European base in Girona, Spain. As a result the 2008 season was a big success, and the team continues with these plans heading into 2009.
There were differences at this year's camp and launch and, if you had to choose one word to describe those, it would have to be 'win!' "Last year we raced with dignity, passion and honour," said Team Manager Jonathan Vaughters as he introduced the team to the public. "But we were so happy to be with the best in the world, riding on the front and in the mix... so happy were we to perform clean and with ethics, that we forgot one last little step – we forgot to go ahead and win. We could win a hell of a lot more than we did this year!
"Though succeeding beyond anyone's wildest dreams in 2008, I feel that we owe you – the people that believed in us, the fans, our sponsors – we owe you the beauty and emotion of victory!"
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