By Shane Stokes in Majorca, Spain
As is the case with several other teams the Saxo Bank squad have been training hard on Majorca, Spain prior to the start of the new season. The Danish team is staying in a hotel close to Playa de Palma and took in a long road ride on Monday, building endurance with a five hour outing.
Team owner Bjarne Riis is satisfied with things so far. "We have just started the training camp today, so it is difficult to say," he replied, when asked about the condition of the riders. "There are still a lot of riders not training today - they are going to Australia and Argentina. But it looks okay, they look fit."
The team changed bike and kit suppliers over the winter. Cervélo previously supplied the frames but Specialized has taken over in that regard, providing frames, fork, shoes, gloves, bar tape, helmets and other items. The transition to new material has been made easier by the BG Fits (Body Geometry) being offered to each and every one of the riders, the first time that a whole team has benefited in this way. Dr Andy Pruitt, EdD, PA, the Director of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine pioneered the system and is helping the team find the correct racing positions in Majorca.
Riis thinks that the FIT system brings potential benefits to his riders. "We cannot tell exactly right now, but I believe it will be of benefit. They are just small adjustments [being made] but small adjustments can also mean something.
"There are a few things that we look at that we have never seen before, never taken care of before. I think it is interesting."
One of the things he was referring to is the flexibility of some riders. Both Frank and Andy Schleck lacked suppleness in this regard, while Olympic TT Fabian Cancellara scorched the assessment.
"I think that if they have a tight hamstring, it is difficult for them to put the saddle up into the position that I actually want them to ride," he said. "It is important that we can see that they can work on their hamstrings. Like Andy [Schleck], he has to work on his hamstrings, he has to work on his glutes so he gets stronger. He has already been working on that and he has improved. This will help him have a better position."
A full feature on the Bike FIT will follow soon.