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Gallery: Blanco Pro Cycling Team's first training camp

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Bauke Mollema (Blanco) is aiming for the Ardennes classics and the Tour de France.

Bauke Mollema (Blanco) is aiming for the Ardennes classics and the Tour de France.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Jack Bobridge finds a novel way to carry his trainers back to the hotel.

Jack Bobridge finds a novel way to carry his trainers back to the hotel.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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David Tanner arrives from Saxo-Tinkoff to boost Blanco's lead-out possibilities.

David Tanner arrives from Saxo-Tinkoff to boost Blanco's lead-out possibilities.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Tom Jelte Slagter is one of the promising young talents on Blanco Pro Cycling.

Tom Jelte Slagter is one of the promising young talents on Blanco Pro Cycling.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Gesink wheels into Playitas resort after the morning ride.

Robert Gesink wheels into Playitas resort after the morning ride.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Gesink will ride the Giro d'Italia in 2013.

Robert Gesink will ride the Giro d'Italia in 2013.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Gesink after his morning's exertions.

Robert Gesink after his morning's exertions.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Gesink cut a relaxed figure at the Blanco Pro Cycling camp.

Robert Gesink cut a relaxed figure at the Blanco Pro Cycling camp.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Jack Bobridge arrives at Blanco determined for a fresh start and a renewed focus on the road.

Jack Bobridge arrives at Blanco determined for a fresh start and a renewed focus on the road.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Luis Leon Sanchez is facing into his third season on the team.

Luis Leon Sanchez is facing into his third season on the team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Theo Bos enjoyed his best road season yet in 2012.

Theo Bos enjoyed his best road season yet in 2012.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Bram Tankink models the new Blanco kit.

Bram Tankink models the new Blanco kit.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Mark Renshaw (Blanco) has been making the transition from lead-out man to sprinter.

Mark Renshaw (Blanco) has been making the transition from lead-out man to sprinter.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Merijn Zeeman joins the coaching staff at Blanco after winning many admirers at Argos-Shimano.

Merijn Zeeman joins the coaching staff at Blanco after winning many admirers at Argos-Shimano.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Some last-minute adjustments for Paul Martens.

Some last-minute adjustments for Paul Martens.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Robert Wagner joins from RadioShack-Nissan.

Robert Wagner joins from RadioShack-Nissan.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Lars Boom readies himself for another day in the saddle.

Lars Boom readies himself for another day in the saddle.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Graeme Brown has been part of the set-up since 2006.

Graeme Brown has been part of the set-up since 2006.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Maarten Wynants is one of two Belgian riders on the Blanco team.

Maarten Wynants is one of two Belgian riders on the Blanco team.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Steven Kruijswijk will ride the Giro d'Italia with Gesink and Kelderman.

Steven Kruijswijk will ride the Giro d'Italia with Gesink and Kelderman.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Lars Boom (Blanco) is looking to make another stride forward in the classics in 2013.

Lars Boom (Blanco) is looking to make another stride forward in the classics in 2013.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Laurens ten Dam checks the route for the morning ride.

Laurens ten Dam checks the route for the morning ride.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Laurens ten Dam will be one of Blanco's leaders at the Tour de France.

Laurens ten Dam will be one of Blanco's leaders at the Tour de France.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)
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Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco) after the morning ride. He and his teammates would face an interval session in the afternoon.

Maarten Tjallingii (Blanco) after the morning ride. He and his teammates would face an interval session in the afternoon.
(Image credit: Barry Ryan)

100 kilometres off the coast of Africa, the quiet island of Fuerteventura seems a lifetime away from the clamour of the professional cycling season, but it is here that Blanco Pro Cycling Team – formerly Rabobank – takes the first steps of its 2013 campaign.

The mounds of scorched earth that characterise the island are broken only by the occasional golf course and resort, but while the landscape scarcely inspires, the quiet roads and the climate – a pleasant 20 degrees Celsius in mid-December – make it a prime winter training location.

Blanco Pro Cycling has spent the past week at the Playtias resort on the south of the island. The camp follows a two-day survival course in the biting cold of the Netherlands last weekend, and with the team bonding session behind them, the squad was happy to begin work on the road under rather more amenable skies.

The squad began the week training in their Rabobank kit, but Thursday’s low-key team presentation marked the beginning of a new era, as Robert Gesink, Bauke Mollema, Mark Renshaw et al swapped the famous orange and blue for the black, white and blue of Blanco.

Newly-installed manager Richard Plugge is charged with overseeing operations but also with finding a new sponsor for the team to ensure its survival beyond 2013, when Rabobank’s parachute payments run out.

To that end, the squad has already announced that Robert Gesink will ride the Giro d’Italia in a bid to attract backers, but Plugge told the press on Thursday that there had already been considerable interest from potential sponsors.

There will be no changes to the name or the kit before Amstel Gold Race in April, however, and in the early part of the season, the hope is that the Blanco brand – “it’s a project, not a company,” notes Plugge – can become as recognised as Highroad did in similar circumstances in 2008.

For a full gallery of Gesink, Mollema and new signings Jack Bobridge and David Tanner in the new Blanco kit, click here.