By Gerard Knapp
Among the top Australian professional riders present in Tasmania for the Launceston International Classic was CSC's new hiring for 2005, Athens gold medallist Luke Roberts. The classy endurance trackie had been putting away some solid race wins on the road for the German team ComNet and in 2005, he is looking forward to his first season in a division 1 (ProTour) team.
He told Cyclingnews that he thought he'd known exhaustion before at the end of a tough bike race, but nothing prepared him for the military training exercises and sleep deprivation. Ultimately, he believes he will be a stronger rider for the experience, if only for the development of his mental endurance and self-belief.
However, Riis doesn't simply dispatch his troops back to all corners of the globe and hope they turn up fresh for the season. While training in Australia, Roberts is using an SRM power measurement system on every ride. Sensors in the crank arms of his bike relay information to a small receiver mounted on his handlebars. After each ride, Roberts connects this receiver to his laptop computer and then emails the data back to Riis in Denmark, who can see exactly how hard his new star recruit has been riding.
It allows rider and director to precisely plan their training, so he can peak at exactly the right time, and for Roberts, it seems he is aiming to be in top shape for this year's Giro d'Italia.