Bahrain-Merida train in Catalonia - Gallery

The Bahrain-Merida team have gathered in Cambrils on the Daurada coast of Catalonia for a final pre-season training camp, enjoying the warm temperatures and quiet winter roads of the Spanish holiday resort to complete a final 12-day block of training before the start of the season.

A squad of riders and staff, including Rohan Dennis and Domenico Pozzovivo, are in Australia at the Tour Down Under, with only Gregor Bole and Welsh neo-pro Stevie Williams absent from the Cambrils camp due to injury. Williams has a minor knee injury that has slowed his full debut with Bahrain-Merida, but the team expects him to soon be on the road to recovery.

Bahrain-Merida arrived in Cambrils on January 10 and will head home on January 22. They are sharing the vast Cambrils Park Sport Village with women’s under-17 soccer teams from England, France and Germany, using the gym for early morning stretching and core work and the local roads for their training. Former rider Joaquim ‘Purito’ Rodriguez was on hand to show the riders the best routes.

Vincenzo Nibali joined up with his teammates on Tuesday to step up his training for the 2019 season. He confirmed that he will target the Giro d’Italia and then go on to ride the Tour de France, and so has delayed his season debut until the UAE Tour in late February. He will do another training camp at altitude in early February and in March he will ride Strade Bianche, Tirreno-Adriatico, Milan-San Remo.

After a first training camp in Croatia in December, Cambrils is another chance for team and staff to work together and prepare for the season ahead. The new head of Performance David Bailey joined Paolo Slongo and Paolo Artuso to check the training and physiological data.

Slongo explained that the riders will do three-day training blocks, separated by a rest day, with the riders divided into two different groups depending on their level of fitness and early-season goals and race programmes. Tuesday was dedicated to individual and team time trial training; Wednesday included more specific workouts, while riders face up to five hours in the saddle on Thursday.

Bahrain-Merida has hired Team Sky mechanic Filip Tisma as its new head wrenchman, and he and the other mechanics were on hand as riders continued to train on their new disc-brake bikes. All the Bahrain-Merida team will use disc brakes in 2019, with key riders able to switch to calliper brakes for important races and mountain stages.

The team chefs were also present in Cambrils to prepare specific meals for the riders and also refine their recipes for the coming season.

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