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Team building takes riders off the bike - Gallery

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Rope skills came in handy at the Groupama-FDJ camp at Chamrousse

Rope skills came in handy at the Groupama-FDJ camp at Chamrousse
(Image credit: Twitter @GroupamaFDJ)
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Biathlon was part of the weekend at Chamrousse with Groupama-FDJ

Biathlon was part of the weekend at Chamrousse with Groupama-FDJ
(Image credit: Twitter @GroupamaFDJ)
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Nothing but net for this Groupama-FDJ rider

Nothing but net for this Groupama-FDJ rider
(Image credit: Twitter @GroupamaFDJ)
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Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.

Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Corentin Ermenault captures some video at the Vital Concept camp

Corentin Ermenault captures some video at the Vital Concept camp
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Bryan Coquard gets ready for the night training at Vital Concept's military camp

Bryan Coquard gets ready for the night training at Vital Concept's military camp
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.

Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Face paint and rope drills helped fill the 30 hours of training for Vital Concept

Face paint and rope drills helped fill the 30 hours of training for Vital Concept
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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The Vital Concept riders train with the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.

The Vital Concept riders train with the 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.

Vital Conept riders train with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment.
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Adrien Garel prepares for a drill with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment at the Vital Concept camp

Adrien Garel prepares for a drill with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment at the Vital Concept camp
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)
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Groupama-FDJ riders can't pass up the opportunity for a snowball fight

Groupama-FDJ riders can't pass up the opportunity for a snowball fight
(Image credit: Twitter @GroupamaFDJ)
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A rider gets ready for a night drill at Vital Concept's camp

A rider gets ready for a night drill at Vital Concept's camp
(Image credit: Vital Concept Cycling Club)

The transition from the 2018 season to the 2019 campaign has picked up pace as more and more teams release their final 2019 rosters and start looking ahead to next year. It also means a flurry of 'first' team camps, where riders new and old come together to meet and greet, gather new gear and learn about sponsors.

The turn to the new season also means the often-dreaded, sometimes-remembered-fondly team-building exercises that usually take place off the bike. Most recently, two French teams turned their get-togethers into memorable adventures, with Groupama-FDJ hosting a two-day snow camp at the Chamrousse ski station in the Alps, and 23 riders from Vital Concept undergoing military drills for 30 hours with France's 3rd Marine Infantry Regiment in Morbihan.

The military training included an obstacle course at Fort Penthièvre (Quiberon peninsula), close combat in the Quartier Foch-Délestraint, an overnight orientation race at Camp de Meucon and an obstacle course the next morning, according to a post on Vital Concept's website.

"I mainly remember the challenge of the obstacle course as soon as the night in the woods ended," said Corentin Ermenault, a 22-year-old Frenchman who joined Vital Concept last year from Team Wiggins.

"It was 'One for all, all for one', and the atmosphere was really great," Ermenault said. "Spend more than 30 hours cut off from everything, without time, there is no better way to live together and build relationships. I was disappointed when he had to leave the camp and return to the neighborhood."

Sprinter Bryan Coquard recognized the challenge and benefits of of the team's first 2019 test as the successive military drills intensified.

"The moment when it was necessary to crawl on the beach of Penthièvre, Wednesday in the late afternoon after having made the obstacle course in the Fort, there, I understood what we were doing," Coquard said.