By Daniel Benson in Mallorca
The new season has already started for Team Columbia, which is holding its annual training camp in Mallorca, Spain, this week. Under manager Bob Stapleton, the men's and women's teams will meet for the first time, and the team's aims, technologies and practices will be set out for the coming year.
"The goals were two-fold. Firstly we wanted to celebrate the success we've had so far and secondly we wanted to start our riders off on the right foot for next year," Stapleton said to Cyclingnews.
"We have in place the best organisation and practices of any team and with 20 different nationalities, and riders aged between 22 and 42, this is a chance to bring all that together."
The training camp is also an opportunity for new signings Mark Renshaw, Michael Albasini, and Maxime Monfort to meet their new teammates.
Over the coming days cycling's winningest squad of 2008 will take part in training rides, meet for one-on-one talks with the team's management, and get kitted-out with their new Scott Addict bikes.
"It's not just about doing miles on the bike. Of course the hard work gets done, but there's so much to do of it," said George Hincapie.
"I had a long meeting where we went over my season in detail. We then planned out a schedule and training that would fit with the other riders. It was pretty intense, kind of like a job interview, but I know it will pay off. I've also been doing core exercises and new post-training techniques."
Last night the riders held court with Stapleton for a closed-door anti-doping meeting. Tonight Anne Gripper will be talking to the riders on anti-doping and the UCI's passport programme.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage from the training camp.