By Shane Stokes
World time trial champion Bert Grabsch is one of many big guns on the Columbia team, and he's undoubtedly motivated for 2009 after his win in Varese last September. The Swiss-based German is satisfied with his condition for this time of the year, thanks in part to his work at the team training camp at Club Robinson in Mallorca.
"We have not had much training thus far just two days," he told Cyclingnews on Friday evening. "Tomorrow is the team presentation and then we will have another five days of training. The team has been here since the sixth of January, but I am here since the third .I got here three days before, as my home [in Kreutzlingen, Switzerland] is covered in snow. It is too cold."
Although Switzerland has been hit by bad weather, he feels that everyone is in the same boat. "It's the same for all of the riders from Europe," he said, when asked if he was at a disadvantage. "In Italy it is snowing, I think everyone has the same condition. That said, I feel I am in good shape I was already here in December for three weeks for training, and I think I am in a good way for the season."
Grabsch was an unexpected winner of the world title last September. He scorched the 43.7 kilometre course and ultimately finished 42 seconds ahead of Canadian Svein Tuft and 52 up on American Dave Zabriskie.
Looking towards 2009, he will start his season with the Tour of Qatar, then do three days of racing in the Volta a Mallorca. After that, he'll head to the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal. His first big target is likely to be either Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico, particularly if there's a time trial there.
Busy presentation day for Columbia riders
The riders of the Columbia High Road team have a packed day on Saturday, with the team presentation taking place at the Club Robinson Cala Serena at 10:00 am local time. Between 10:30 am and 1:00 pm, the riders will do interviews with the press and then, after a brief lunch, they will head out on a recovery-day ride.
At 4:00 pm, they are required to take a cold plunge, facilitating recuperation, then after that they will do a core strength workout. A sports science and training overview plus a team strategy and tactics discussion takes them to dinner at 8:00 pm, completing a busy day.