The riders of Vacansoleil-DCM 2013 held a three-day team building camp last week in the dark and snow. Winter hasn't arrived early in the Netherlands, instead the riders faced a surprise night time session at an indoor ski hall.
It was “a complete surprise to those guys,” said team manager Daan Luijkx. They spent the day in the traditional way, having photo sessions and getting measured for kit and leisure clothes. But they may have become suspicious when they weren't allowed to have any wine with dinner.
They were then taken by bus to Snow World in Landgraaf, where they faced “snow cannons in the dark, a staircase of 560 steps and a ten-metre high rope crossing,” Luijkx said. And it was hard work. "I was sweating my ass off in the winter," says Lieuwe Westra as he emerged at four the next morning.
The riders were divided into three teams, depending on their main goals of the 2013 season. The red team included sprinters around Kenny Hummel and Romain Feillu, while the blue team included the stage race riders Thomas De Gendt and Wout Poels. That left the Classics riders in the yellow team, including Bjorn Leukemans and Pim Ligthart.
“The goal of the team building event during the night was to kick-off a bigger program (which runs the whole season) to create a more efficient and consistent team of riders, staff and sport directors with great task awareness, leadership and using everyone’s qualities,” team spokesman Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews.
The team get-together also started out on an unusual note, as the whole team including the sport directors went mountain biking underground, in the caves below the Cauberg.