Saturday January 17:
A bright, sunny and warm day greeted the riders at the Cervélo Test Team training camp on Saturday in the Algarve.
On the agenda: a five-hour training ride, followed by an hour on the time trial bikes.
Setting off in one of the team cars, Cycling Weekly followed the riders around a circuit of the local climbs. Classics riders such as Thor Hushovd and Heinrich Haussler set the tempo at the front of the bunch, with Carlos Sastre content to sit at the back and enjoy the ride.
Climbing into the local mountains was also an opportunity for some of the riders to engage in some strength training, with Haussler out of the saddle in the big ring for the majority of the climb.
Cycling Weekly returned to the hotel in which the team is staying to see the riders arrive and take off again on their Cervélo P3 time trial machines. Fortunately for the mechanics, the roads are dry today and they have little work to do in cleaning the road bikes.
Heading back out onto one of the local main roads, the riders split into three groups and start interval training, with the pace slowing and then increasing rapidly for minutes at a time. With a team trial in the Tour de France, practicing riding in formation like this at the start of the season can mean the difference between winning and losing for Sastre come July.
Shortly after the riders return, it’s time to give interviews to the assembled European cycling press and also to give feedback to the team’s sponsors about how their bikes are performing before dinner.
The road ride was fine, but the time trial intervals finished me off, Sastre tells Cycling Weekly.
Sunday January 18:
The riders have already done a week of intensive training and today is their first ‘day off’. “You must be glad to have a bit of a rest today”, I say to Dan Fleeman. “It’s not really a rest, we’ll be on our feet for most of the day”, he says.
The riders are occupied for almost every minute of their spare time when not training at this camp. After a dress rehearsal for the team presentation later in the morning, some of the riders have a pedalling analysis to assess which Rotor oval-shape chainrings suit them best.
Then it’s time for the team launch in the impressive on-site theatre at the team’s hotel. With every member of the men’s and women’s team present, the atmosphere is buoyant.
Sastre has clearly already gained the respect of the other riders on the team and was on hand at the presentation to reinforce the values upon which the team is built: honesty and team-work.
Then it’s team photograph time on the golf course, which despite being hurried because there were people actually playing on the course at the time, was delayed by the inevitable laughter and joking that comes with 25 professional cyclists filled with the excitement of the early season.
A raucous cheer erupts from the men when the photographer asks for the women to join them in the photo. It’s like the first day back at school after the summer holidays.
Duties done with for the day, the riders retire to the terrace, and later the bar, to relax and shoot the breeze with the assembled press and sponsors.
It’s already shaping up to be quite some team.
Cervelo training camp blog: Part one
Cervelo Test Team launch photos
Roger Hammond: Rider Profile
Jeremy Hunt: Rider Profile
Dan Fleeman: Rider Profile
Daniel Lloyd: Rider Profile
Emma Pooley: Rider Profile
Cervelo confirm Lloyd, hunt and Fleeman