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Armstrong's under-23 team prepares for season start at Tour of Qatar
Trek-Livestrong has launched its 2010 season with a training camp in Solvang, California. Sports director Axel Merckx has led all but one of the 14-rider espoir squad on the week-long camp, as the team prepares to start its season at the Tours of Qatar and Oman.
Well known as the site of training camps for US Postal Service and Discovery Channel in seasons past, Solvang has provided the under-23 riders with car-free roads to complete 3-5 hours of base training each day. However, with an eight-rider team to compete against ProTour squads in the Middle East next month, the riders have also carried out interval and time trial efforts so as to acclimatise to the intensity of racing.
The cyclist-friendly Danish town, located 2.5 hours north-west of Los Angeles, has also given the riders an opportunity to bond with one another, as the team's age limit has created a natural rotation to the roster for 2010. The riders have been spotted together regularly at Solvang's Bulldog Café, where photos of the teams that have trained in the region in the past adorn the walls.
The USA's Taylor Phinney, Benjamin King and Julian Kyer, New Zealand's Jesse Sergent and Canadian Cody Campbell are the only riders who remain from last year's squad. Added to the mix this season are US riders Charlie Avis, Nathan Brown, Gavin Mannion, Chase Pinkham, Iggy Silva and Justin Williams, Briton Alex Dowsett and Australians Ben King and Tim Roe.
Roe is the only member of the team not present at the training camp. The 20-year-old is currently racing for the UniSA team at the Tour Down Under. Roe, part of a a day-long break during the opening stage of the ProTour race, will enter Wednesday's second stage as leader of the mountains classification.
Trek-Livestrong recorded two victories in 2009 through Taylor Phinney. The 19-year-old American claimed victory in the Flèche du Sud, before an emphatic win at the Espoir edition of Paris-Roubaix.
Directed by former professional Axel Merckx, the team is owned by Lance Armstrong. The latter's former US Postal teammate, Kevin Livingston, acts as assistant team director to the squad.
The team will begin it's season at the Tour of Qatar on February 7.
Trek-Livestrong 2010 roster:
Charlie Avis (USA)
Nathan Brown (USA)
Cody Campbell (Can)
Alex Dowsett (GBr)
Ben King (USA)
Ben King (Aus)
Julian Kyer (USA)
Gavin Mannion (USA)
Taylor Phinney (USA)
Chase Pinkham (USA)
Tim Roe (Aus)
Jesse Sergent (Nzl)
Iggy Silva (USA)
Justin Williams (USA)