Back from the latest Garmin-Cervelo training camp in Calpe, Spain, Christian Vande Velde is excited about the season ahead.
The stage-race specialist met up with his teammates from January 9-19 for an intensive camp on the Spanish coast and while their December camp in the Cayman Islands was primarily focused on team-bonding, the European trip was all about fitness. So much so, that unlike most team camps, the media was not invited and the riders had only a single rest day.
“It was one of the best training camps I’ve had in a long time," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews. "It was a real camp, in modern day cycling we don’t really train that much at them, we just try to get things swept out of the way before the year kicks off, which is convenient in one way but sometimes it’s just nice to concentrate on training. It was a real biking camp. We had one rest day and messed with our positions a little but it was bikes and more bikes.”
The Garmin-Cervelo team has gone through a number of changes over the winter, with riders including Heinrich Haussler and world champion Thor Hushovd joining. On paper the squad is one of the strongest in the world and its status as such is reinforced by the creation of a women’s team.
“Meeting with them was great experience,” Vande Velde said.
“To sit down with them on the first night was a different experience. It’s the 14th year of training camps for me and there’s never been a women’s team sitting there at breakfast, lunch and dinner. As camp went by we definitely got really comfortable and started chatting, and it made things far less mundane and more fun than normal."
“A lot of the women rider were coming from Australia and battling jet lag so we didn’t train with them that much but they’re a fantastic team in their own right.”
As for Vande Velde, he will be hoping for an injury-free season after enduring two tough years of crashes, broken bones and disappointments. The American crashed out of both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2010 but is raring to go this year.
“The form is great. I surprised myself over the course of the camp and in my head first and foremost, I’m having a great time.”