Riders and staff from Rally Cycling gathered in Estes, Colorado, last week for a pre-Christmas winter camp aimed at getting a jump on the 2017 season. The snowy Colorado town hosted the men's team, which included new recruits and returning veterans already ramping up for the team's planned early start of the season in Europe.
The four-day Winter camp started December 18 at the team's service course in Golden, where riders met with mechanics to dial in their 2017 Diamondback team bikes. From there they traveled to the Snow Mountain Ranch for snowshoeing, Nordic skiing and other winter activities.
"It is important to get the team together in a casual environment," said Performance Manager Jonas Carney. "We had a very successful 2016 season, and we are looking to build on that momentum with the addition of some talented riders and a challenging start to the season in Europe.
"The Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia, Volta ao Algarve, and Volta ao Alentejo are some of the best early season races in the world and we are excited to be invited," Carney said. "The guys are already training well and we look forward to again showing that Rally Cycling can compete against the top teams in the world."
The team will start the 2017 season at the Vuelta Ciclista a la Región de Murcia (UCI 1.1) in Spain on February 11, followed by the Volta ao Algarve (UCI 2.HC) in Portugal, February 15-19, the Volta ao Alentejo (UCI 2.1) February 22-26 and concluding with the Classica da Arrabida-Cylin'Portugal (UCI 1.2) on March 5.
Riders at the recent camp who are returning to Rally for 2017 included Rob Britton, Jesse Anthony, Adam de Vos, Brad Huff, Evan Huffman, Shane Kline, Emerson Oronte, Danny Pate, Tom Soladay and Eric Young. New riders at the camp included Redlands Bicycle Classic winner Matteo Dal-Cin, Tour of Alberta stage winner Colin Joyce and 2016 junior time trial World Champion Brandon McNulty. Also at the camp was Sepp Kuss, who signed with Rally Cycling midway through the 2016 season and quickly left his mark, winning stage 2 up Mont-Mégantic at the Tour de Beauce and eclipsing the best climbers atop the Oak Glen stage of the Redlands Classic. Absent from the winter camp were Pierrick Naud, who was finishing school in Canada, and Curtis White, who is racing cyclo-cross in Europe.
"I just finished up the fall semester of my senior year at school, so now I have more free time, and I'm excited to ramp up my training and get together with the rest of the team to prepare for 2017," Kuss said. "I'm really excited to be at winter camp. I grew up Nordic ski racing, so it will be great to get back out on the snow. I'm looking forward to catching up with the rest of the team, staff and new riders."
Dal-Cin came to team camp from three weeks of training in Tucson, where he was tuning his form in hopes of getting a jump on the early European races,
"It’s great to be at winter camp and getting to meet all my new teammates," he said. "I've never had that opportunity before so I'm hoping that it leads to strong team chemistry."
Following the winter camp, Rally Cycling will break briefly for the holidays before gathering again in Oxnard, California, for its annual Southern California training camp. The men’s training camp will run from January 19-29, the women’s training camp will follow January 31 through February 12. Both squads will officially debut at a special launch event at the American Honda Museum in Torrance, California, on January 30.