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Vande Velde and Garmin-Cervelo warm up in Calpe

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Christian Vande Velde tests out his new time trial bike

Christian Vande Velde tests out his new time trial bike
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Christian Vande Velde tests his new Cervelo time trial bike

Christian Vande Velde tests his new Cervelo time trial bike
(Image credit: Stephen Farrand)
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New signing Christophe Le Mével

New signing Christophe Le Mével
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Thor Hushovd and Roger Hammond lead a select group of riders

Thor Hushovd and Roger Hammond lead a select group of riders
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The team set out on a long ride in the Spanish hills around Calpe

The team set out on a long ride in the Spanish hills around Calpe
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Hushovd and some of the other Classics riders take a break from training

Hushovd and some of the other Classics riders take a break from training
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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A Garmin-Cervelo car on the side of the road

A Garmin-Cervelo car on the side of the road
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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David Zabriskie on the front of the group

David Zabriskie on the front of the group
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Dan Martin(sixth wheel) met up with his teammates for the first time since last year

Dan Martin(sixth wheel) met up with his teammates for the first time since last year
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The riders out on a training ride

The riders out on a training ride
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The Calpe sunset was the perfect backdrop

The Calpe sunset was the perfect backdrop
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The team would have to train for even longer after tucking into this cake.

The team would have to train for even longer after tucking into this cake.
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Thor Hushovd cuts his cake

Thor Hushovd cuts his cake
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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A team camp means one thing, new kit and lots of it

A team camp means one thing, new kit and lots of it
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Thor Hushovd and Roger Hammond lead a select group of riders

Thor Hushovd and Roger Hammond lead a select group of riders
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The men's and women's teams training together

The men's and women's teams training together
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Christophe Le Mével and Thor Hushovd pose for the camera

Christophe Le Mével and Thor Hushovd pose for the camera
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The team would split up and train in smaller groups, working on specific goals

The team would split up and train in smaller groups, working on specific goals
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The riders were of course able to train on their new time trial machines

The riders were of course able to train on their new time trial machines
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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The Garmin-Cervelo riders out on a training ride

The Garmin-Cervelo riders out on a training ride
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Training camps are a busy time for team mechanics.

Training camps are a busy time for team mechanics.
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Thor Hushovd's bike

Thor Hushovd's bike
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Thor Hushovd gives the impression he's finding his feet with another new team

Thor Hushovd gives the impression he's finding his feet with another new team
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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It's not the Cayman Islands but Garmin-Cervelo were all about the training miles at this camp

It's not the Cayman Islands but Garmin-Cervelo were all about the training miles at this camp
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Ryder Hesjedal will be looking to back up his 2010 season with another strong year

Ryder Hesjedal will be looking to back up his 2010 season with another strong year
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Christian Vande Velde and Thor Hushovd set the pace on the front of the group

Christian Vande Velde and Thor Hushovd set the pace on the front of the group
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)
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Christian Vande Velde and the rest of the Garmin-Cervelo team relax at dinner

Christian Vande Velde and the rest of the Garmin-Cervelo team relax at dinner
(Image credit: Lucas Gilman)

Back from the latest Garmin-Cervelo training camp in Calpe, Spain, Christian Vande Velde is excited about the season ahead.

The stage-race specialist met up with his teammates from January 9-19 for an intensive camp on the Spanish coast and while their December camp in the Cayman Islands was primarily focused on team-bonding, the European trip was all about fitness. So much so, that unlike most team camps, the media was not invited and the riders had only a single rest day.

“It was one of the best training camps I’ve had in a long time," Vande Velde told Cyclingnews. "It was a real camp, in modern day cycling we don’t really train that much at them, we just try to get things swept out of the way before the year kicks off, which is convenient in one way but sometimes it’s just nice to concentrate on training. It was a real biking camp. We had one rest day and messed with our positions a little but it was bikes and more bikes.” 

The Garmin-Cervelo team has gone through a number of changes over the winter, with riders including Heinrich Haussler and world champion Thor Hushovd joining. On paper the squad is one of the strongest in the world and its status as such is reinforced by the creation of a women’s team.

“Meeting with them was great experience,” Vande Velde said.

“To sit down with them on the first night was a different experience. It’s the 14th year of training camps for me and there’s never been a women’s team sitting there at breakfast, lunch and dinner. As camp went by we definitely got really comfortable and started chatting, and it made things far less mundane and more fun than normal."

“A lot of the women rider were coming from Australia and battling jet lag so we didn’t train with them that much but they’re a fantastic team in their own right.”

As for Vande Velde, he will be hoping for an injury-free season after enduring two tough years of crashes, broken bones and disappointments. The American crashed out of both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France in 2010 but is raring to go this year.

“The form is great. I surprised myself over the course of the camp and in my head first and foremost, I’m having a great time.”