One day prior to the start of Team Type 1's training camp in Athens, Georgia, six riders plus staff and the head mechanic traveled to the A2 Wind Tunnel in Mooresville, North Carolina on Tuesday to fine tune the time trial positions of team members likely to figure prominently against the clock in 2011.
A UCI Continental team for the previous three years, Team Type 1 has stepped up to the Professional Continental ranks for 2011. Commensurate with the team's addition of a service course in Italy and the hiring of several established European professionals, Team Type 1 looked to Tuesday's wind tunnel session as an opportunity to provide every possible advantage to its riders embarking on a primarily European campaign.
New hires Laszlo Bodrogi, Rubens Bertogliati, Alexander Efimkin and Kiel Reijnen joined returning team members Javier Megias Leal and Alexey Shmidt for wind tunnel sessions on Tuesday. Bodrogi, Bertogliati and Shmidt are all proven time trial talents seeking the extra edge to win races against the clock while Efimkin, Megias and Reijnen are general classification contenders striving to optimize their stage racing potential via strong time trial performances.
"Our best riders are here and we're trying to provide them the best support possible to have their [time trial] bikes ready for big events," directeur sportif Vassili Davidenko told Cyclingnews. "We're confident in the program we're going to have and we're doing everything we can to be well-organized and well-prepared to start the season strong and show results that inspire people around the globe."
Laszlo Bodrogi, a silver and bronze medalist in the men's elite time trial world championships as well as a 10-time Hungarian time trial national champion, moved to Team Type 1 from the ProTour Katusha squad and looks forward to 2011 as an opportunity to once again prove himself against the clock at the highest level. A slow recovery from a severe leg injury suffered in a crash at the Tour of Germany in 2008 kept Bodrogi from riding to his potential, but the 34-year-old naturalized Frenchman enters 2011 confident and healthy, along with some tweaks to his time trial position.
"I can now begin a season normally because I didn't have any operations this winter," Bodrogi told Cyclingnews. "I can train normally and my leg is ok.
"The last two years I didn't win any races, but I hope to change that in the upcoming season. I hope to win the French [time trial] championship, finally," Bodrogi said with a laugh.
For reigning Swiss time trial champion Rubens Bertogliati, Tuesday's wind tunnel session was the first in his career. The 31-year old Swiss rider, a Tour de France stage winner and yellow jersey wearer, moved to Team Type 1 from Androni Giocattoli for his 12th season as a professional.
"It's good to know about the difference before and after, to see how much you can better your position," Bertogliati told Cyclingnews. "I hope to do better in time trials throughout the season, not only in the Swiss championship. I think this will really help.
Alexey Shmidt, a multi-time Russian champion on the track, has blazing short term power and speed befitting his track background and the wind tunnel session adapted the 27-year-old's position for pursuit events to the road. "Alexey Shmidt is a world championship medalist on the track and he's really good in short time trials so here there's the chance to improve his position and be best prepared for events with short time trials," said Davidenko.
Alexander Efimkin, who's ridden for Barloworld, Quick Step and most recently Ag2R-La Mondiale in his five-year professional career, arrives at Team Type 1 with the team's best stage racing palmares. He's completed four Grand Tours, the Tour de France once and the Giro d'Italia three times, topped off by a 19th place finish at the 2010 Giro d'Italia.
"Efimkin has been a domestique but now he has a chance to be a leader for stage racing and I think he has huge potential," said Davidenko. "We closely analyzed his past results and we strongly believe we can provide him great with support and provide him what he needs to be at the top of GC for big events."
Davidenko was also effusive about Spaniard Javier Megias Leal, who is a Type 1 diabetic back for his second year on the squad. "Javier Megias is the best diabetic athlete in the cycling world. He did well this year and he's looking for improvement with his time trialing."
Fourth year professional Kiel Reijnen arrives at Team Type 1 after three years at US Continental team Jelly Belly. The 24-year-old American showcased his stage racing abilities in 2010 with a victory at the Tour of Thailand, third overall at Tour of Qinghai Lake, fourth overall at Tour of Hainan and a fifth place finish at the Tour de Korea. Reijnen also finished on the podium at the 2010 US professional road race where he earned the bronze medal.
Reijnen, who's nearly completed his mechanical engineering degree concurrent with his career as a professional cyclist, appreciated the opportunity to receive feedback about his position.
"It's for sure interesting and I think it's really important for a cyclist to be actively involved in everything from nutrition to how the bikes work to aerodynamics. To have another piece of the puzzle squared away is a nice feeling," Reijnen told Cyclingnews.
Preparation for the 2011 season gets in full swing today as Team Type 1's complete 21-rider roster plus the combined US-based and Italy-based staff, soigneurs and mechanics have assembled in Athens, Georgia today for the Pro Continental squad's US training camp which runs December 15-22.