Seven riders from Skil-Shimano, also known as Project 1t4i.com, arrived on Sunday in San Diego, California, for a training camp through December 23. The Dutch-registered Pro Continental squad selected its German sprinters, Marcel Kittel and former HTC rider John Degenkolb, Patrick Gretsch, Dutch Tom Veelers and ex-Leopard Trek rider Tom Stamsnijder as well as French Alexandre Geniez to attend the American camp, which will include wind tunnel testing at the San Diego airport. The group also includes one new member of the women's squad, Regina Bruins, who won Tour de l'Aude's prologue this season.
The rest of the roster will train from December 15-23 in Alicante, Spain, where the team will open a new permanent base for 2012.
"The Californian camp is mainly to do aero tests in the wind tunnel," Skil-Shimano's head coach Merijn Zeeman told Cyclingnews. "We want to optimize the positions, clothing and material. This is an example how we follow our philosophy of Innovation and Improvement."
The acronym 1t4I represents, according to the team, its "core values": team, inspiration, improvement, integrity and innovation.
Tom Davids, Technical Research & Development staff member, will coordinate the wind tunnel tests together with the technicians of 1t4i's technical partners. Until now, the team's aero tests took place on the Apeldoorn track in the Netherlands, where the team met as recently as last week for its first winter camp. However, a more advanced session was decided for a group of riders in the US, with the support of Felt, the California-based bike company which will join 1t4i in 2012.
Moreover, the team plans to compete in several American races next year, including the Amgem Tour of California, the Tour of Utah and the Tour of Colorado.
Iwan Spekenbrink, the general manager of 1t41, told Cyclingnews the squad had "worldwide interests. The team clearly has a French heart, a German spine and a Dutch basis," he said. "This is also in line with how our organisation has been built up and organised, and in line with the company activities of our main sponsor. We're mainly active in Europe but also have interests in the US, where our partner Felt is based, and in Asia, looking to a new big market like China."