This week marks the start of the Omega Pharma - QuickStep "Talent Training Camp" specifically dedicated to the under 23 and junior riders. The three-day event follows the success of the initiative in 2011.
The team has invited 10 athletes from the under 23 category and six junior riders from Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Italy, Algeria and Australia. The riders will get the chance to get a hands-on, internal experience with Belgian-based outfit.
The athletes were selected based on their results, but also on the advice from the team's sports coaches and Sport Directors. However, due to various competitive commitments, not all of the invited athletes will be able to attend the camp. Those athletes who do attend will pedal side by side with some of the team's professional athletes during daily training regimens before joining individual and group meetings to determine the team's working methods.
"We believe that investing in young talent is a cornerstone for the team's medium and long term strategies," explained Sports Director Tom Steels, who heads this project.
"Last year we had positive comments and feedback from participating athletes, so we considered it important to repeat the experience. The main goal is to give these young athletes a glimpse into the atmosphere on our team, to understand our organization and get close to the team's staff. These types of activities are important for the athletes, to gain understanding as to how a professional team is managed, but they are even more important to our staff. In fact, we can learn a lot from the younger generations, especially when it comes to managing an individual versus the group. These guys are part of a new generation of athletes who in just a few years will be taking the torch from today's generation. It is essential to understand their needs and requirements and perhaps to get some feedback from them to develop our own approach to the youth group."