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Nibali and Longo Borghini prove readiness for racing in fitness evaluations

Trek-Segafredo’s Vincenzo Nibali at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve
Trek-Segafredo’s Vincenzo Nibali at the 2020 Volta ao Algarve (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Trek-Segafredo's Vincenzo Nibali, of the men's team, and Elisa Longo Borghini, from the women's squad, have recently undergone fitness evaluations at the Mapei Sport Laboratories in Olgiate Olona, Italy – and their coaches have been pleasantly surprised at both riders' levels of fitness considering the isolation measures that have been necessary throughout most of Europe during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trek-Segafredo have worked with Mapei Sport since 2014 to test and analyse their riders' fitness throughout the year. With riders set to restart their seasons during what would normally be mid-way through a regular racing season, it was always going to be interesting to see the riders' latest results.

"For June, the results are totally different than data from other years at this time," said Trek-Segafredo coach Paolo Slongo on the team's website on Tuesday. "In a normal season, Vincenzo would have just finished the Giro d'Italia, while Elisa would be on the eve of two important events, the Tour of Britain and the Giro Rosa."

Nibali finished 12th overall at the Volta ao Algarve in February ahead of riding the Ardèche Classic and the Drome Classic one-day races. In March, he then rode Paris-Nice, where he finished fourth overall.

Longo Borghini, meanwhile, is yet to begin her 2020 season.

"Vincenzo has values very similar to those he had in March at Paris-Nice, as if time had stopped," said Slongo. "He did excellent work staying in shape. He is where he needs to be to reach his top race condition.

"Elisa's test was also very good. Her condition is already well advanced," he continued. "The approach, for her, will be to alternate specific workloads and rest phases. We want to avoid stressing the body while maintaining good condition, ready to reach the peak."

The head of Mapei's Movement Analysis Laboratory and Cycling Sector, Andrea Morelli, explained: "We carried out the incremental tests to determine the maximum oxygen consumption and the ventilatory threshold, with the addition of lactate measurement to obtain useful data from a metabolic point of view on lactate capacity and confirmation of the threshold.

"This information will be the reference for the tests on the road," he said. "There's a lot of curiosity to understand how the sudden decrease in the volume of work over a prolonged period could affect the athlete's data.

"Vincenzo and Elisa are the first to give us this data, but, in the coming weeks, we will have a wider sample when we evaluate all of Trek-Segafredo's Italian riders. Thanks to the tests, we'll understand the post-lockdown fitness level, and we'll collect useful data about this extraordinary period."