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Rabobank riders bond on the high seas

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The Rabobank team on the North Sea during a pre-season training camp.

The Rabobank team on the North Sea during a pre-season training camp.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rabobank team members load provisions onto the ship.

Rabobank team members load provisions onto the ship.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Juan Manuel Garate and Denis Menchov peel some potatoes.

Juan Manuel Garate and Denis Menchov peel some potatoes.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Juan Manuel Garate and Denis Menchov about to set sail.

Juan Manuel Garate and Denis Menchov about to set sail.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Robert Gesink and Rick Flens during Rabobank's North Sea sailing trip.

Robert Gesink and Rick Flens during Rabobank's North Sea sailing trip.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rabobank team members hard at work.

Rabobank team members hard at work.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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The Rabobank team is about to set sail on the North Sea.

The Rabobank team is about to set sail on the North Sea.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rabobank's Lars Boom and Erik Dekker.

Rabobank's Lars Boom and Erik Dekker.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rabobank's climbing ace Robert Gesink.

Rabobank's climbing ace Robert Gesink.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire will return for 2010 with Rabobank.

Oscar Freire will return for 2010 with Rabobank.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Rabobank team members pass the time with a game of cards.

Rabobank team members pass the time with a game of cards.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire helps load up the team's provisions.

Oscar Freire helps load up the team's provisions.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Oscar Freire doing some domestique duties for Rabobank's pre-season training camp at sea.

Oscar Freire doing some domestique duties for Rabobank's pre-season training camp at sea.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Denis Menchov spends some time in the kitchen.

Denis Menchov spends some time in the kitchen.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)
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Robert Gesink and Denis Menchov at work in the kitchen.

Robert Gesink and Denis Menchov at work in the kitchen.
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While Saxo Bank climbed the mountains on Fuertaventura at their team training camp, Rabobank took a different approach when they sent their riders on a ship to explore the waters around the North Sea.

However despite the novel idea the main activities the riders had to endure were boredom, overeating and a lack of exercise.

"If we’d had a hurricane it might have been an exciting adventure, but unfortunately we had so little wind that we had to turn the motors on in order to move at all," said veteran rider Grischa Niermann.

"Other than that we had the difficult task of cooking for our masseurs and mechanics and trying to kill time the rest of the day," the German continued. "The result: In three days I gained what feels like two kilos and by my first training ride at home I had cramps because I had barely moved in so long."

Going into the team adventure, Niermann had expected something entirely different. The riders had only been told that their "activity" would start at 11 am on a Wednesday and stop at noon Friday. "Sounds a little like a two-day march through mud, without sleeping, eating or any other luxuries," he had written in anticipation.

"I hope that our team outing next year will be a bit more spectacular," the 34-year-old concluded.