John Degenkolb (r) made it onto the Worlds podium, but for now studying for exams is more important
Photo ©: Riccardo Scanferla
German Continental team Thüringer Energie has started its 2009 campaign with two training camps. The first one before Christmas was in the moderate climate of Mallorca. But due to some unusual weather it prepared the group well for the second one, which starts Saturday in the altitude of Livigno, Italy. Besides the thin air, the team will also confront some snow.
Even in Mallorca, the peaks were covered in snow, something that Jens Lang, the team's director, has not seen yet. Lang has plenty of Mallorca experience, as he has been visiting the Spanish island at least twice a year since 1994. The team still could pedal in the flatlands and covered 1300 kilometres in 11 days.
After the initial good weather in Mallorca, heavy rains moved in and it started snowing in higher altitudes. "The road to Puig Major, the highest mountain on Mallorca, was closed," Lang said. The weather forced some out of the order weight training on the team. "This was the first time we had to use a gym for our power workouts. In the past, we interrupted our weight training while staying on Mallorca."
The camp was also important to build team spirit and get used to each other. Newcomer Bastian Bürgel was with the squad for the first time and the 20-year-old integrated well into the team. Bürgel usually trains after work, so the camp was a nice change. "He really enjoyed to be able to concentrate fully on the sport," Lang said.
There were three high-level professionals, who used to ride for the Thüringer Energie team, on Mallorca at the same time. Tony Martin, Markus Fothen and André Greipel conversed with the youngsters after the daily workouts.
The only rider missing in Livigno will be John Degenkolb. The bronze medal winner of the U23 road race in the 2008 World Championships has to take some exams.
(Additional editorial assistance by Susan Westemeyer)