The Liquigas-Cannondale riders are working on their endurance at the team’s first training camp in Sardinia but part of each day is spent on other complimentary, and equally important activities, such as work in the gym, stretching and balance work, physiology testing, planning race programmes, massage, introductions to new sponsors, media interviews and even English lessons.
A December training camp is vital for making sure everything is in place before the racing begins and riders and staff are scattered around the globe at races. It is also the right time for riders to tweak their positions on the bike, and work on their core strength and flexibility.
To fit in all the extra activities, some riders, including team leader’s Ivan Basso and Vincenzo Nibali set their alarm clocks for 6:30am so they can go to the gym before breakfast.
The training rides leave the hotel at 9:30 and then other activities fill the rest of the day until dinner at 8:00pm.
There was no training ride programmed for Tuesday because every rider underwent a physiology test in a temporary lab set up in one of the buildings. Vincenzo Nibali sneaked out for an hour on the bike but most riders saved everything for the test and then rode on the rollers to recover from their effort.
The tests were done under the watchful eye of team coach Paolo Slongo and technicians from power metre specialist SRM.
The test lasted 45 minutes, with the riders told to increase their power output by a few watts every three minutes. The riders were wired up to a computer and their breathing capacity was also measured.
The stretching and relaxation classes were done in groups of six or seven, while the soigneur were kept busy rubbing the muscles of the 30 riders on the team.
Liquigas-Cannondale intends to be a more global team in 2011. The Italian squad has added Ted King, Timmy Duggen and Cameron Wurf to their roster but also made the other riders study English during the training camp. Many will need more than a few hours with a teacher before they are fluent but the team hopes it will make them understand the global importance of the sport and the need to speak in English.
Mechanics busy building new bikes
Three of the eight Liquigas-Cannondale mechanics were in Sardinia and have turned a large room at the Geovillage resort into their workshop. They built the rider’s training bikes and time trial bike before the camp and were busy building their first race bike. Senior mechanic Giuseppe Archetti told Cyclingnews that they will build at least 160 bikes during the season, with riders having a training bike which stays at their home, a race bike, a reserve bike, a time trial bike and probably further new bikes during the season and special bikes for the pave races.
Staff from Cannondale, new drive train and brake supplier SRAM and Speedplay pedals were all at the camp, helping the mechanics and riders fine-tune their bikes ready for the rapidly approaching 2011 season.