Cycling teams’ winter training camps are often the first chance for new team members to meet their colleagues and form a bond that will see them through the following season on the road.
It used to be that the riders would indulge in a leisurely ride, a press conference and a meal or two. Then the CSC team raised the bar with its military-style boot camps in the mid-2000s, which saw team boss Bjarne Riis marching his camo-clad men around Norwegian bogs to toughen them up a bit.
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These days anything goes – camping, shooting, hiking, go-karting, caving… more akin to an office team-building session than a serious way to get in shape. And why not, they’ve got the following 11 and a half months to smash themselves to pieces on a bike, nose glued to a power meter.
And it all makes for some great photos, too.
Andre Greipel, a BMX and some cups of water
Pim Ligthart takes a shot for Lotto-Belisol
Bart DeClerq goes for a run
That’s Andre Greipel’s thighs stuck in a cave
Riders are under contract to wear their former team’s clothing until the end of 2013
Vincenzo Nibali in a go-kart at the Astana winter camp
Astana’s Evan Huffman in action
Vincenzo Nibali tops the go-kart podium, of course
Jakob Fuglsang is very happy with his result