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Vacansoleil-DCM go team building in the snow

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Vacansoleil's "red team" looks a bit dubious and holds on tight

Vacansoleil's "red team" looks a bit dubious and holds on tight
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Vacansoleil riders moving along up in the air

Vacansoleil riders moving along up in the air
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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A different type of helmet for this Vacansoleil rider

A different type of helmet for this Vacansoleil rider
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Low ceiling for the Vacansoleil riders in the caves underneath the Cauberg

Low ceiling for the Vacansoleil riders in the caves underneath the Cauberg
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Instructions for Vacansoleil before they take off into the caves

Instructions for Vacansoleil before they take off into the caves
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Back to civilzation and a team dinner

Back to civilzation and a team dinner
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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The Vacansoleil riders wondering where this bus is taking them

The Vacansoleil riders wondering where this bus is taking them
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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The "blue team" starts climbing

The "blue team" starts climbing
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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The Vacansoleil riders bundle up for their snowy adventure

The Vacansoleil riders bundle up for their snowy adventure
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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The "red team" gets dressed

The "red team" gets dressed
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Vacansoleil's "blue team" prepares for action

Vacansoleil's "blue team" prepares for action
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Vacansoleil team managemen takes a stroll to discuss matters

Vacansoleil team managemen takes a stroll to discuss matters
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Up they go....

Up they go....
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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Vacansoleil's "yellow team" does some heavy toting

Vacansoleil's "yellow team" does some heavy toting
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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A new form of altitude training for Vacansoleil

A new form of altitude training for Vacansoleil
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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More altitude work for Vacansoleil

More altitude work for Vacansoleil
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)
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The first task for Vacansoleil was mountain biking underground

The first task for Vacansoleil was mountain biking underground
(Image credit: Wouter Roosenboom)

The riders of Vacansoleil-DCM 2013 held a three-day team building camp last week in the dark and snow. Winter hasn't arrived early in the Netherlands, instead the riders faced a surprise night time session at an indoor ski hall.

It was “a complete surprise to those guys,” said team manager Daan Luijkx. They spent the day in the traditional way, having photo sessions and getting measured for kit and leisure clothes. But they may have become suspicious when they weren't allowed to have any wine with dinner.

They were then taken by bus to Snow World in Landgraaf, where they faced “snow cannons in the dark, a staircase of 560 steps and a ten-metre high rope crossing,” Luijkx said. And it was hard work. "I was sweating my ass off in the winter," says Lieuwe Westra as he emerged at four the next morning.

The riders were divided into three teams, depending on their main goals of the 2013 season. The red team included sprinters around Kenny Hummel and Romain Feillu, while the blue team included the stage race riders Thomas De Gendt and Wout Poels. That left the Classics riders in the yellow team, including Bjorn Leukemans and Pim Ligthart.

“The goal of the team building event during the night was to kick-off a bigger program (which runs the whole season) to create a more efficient and consistent team of riders, staff and sport directors with great task awareness, leadership and using everyone’s qualities,” team spokesman Frank Kwanten told Cyclingnews.

The team get-together also started out on an unusual note, as the whole team including the sport directors went mountain biking underground, in the caves below the Cauberg.