How do professional riders spend the off-season?

With the WorldTour season now longer than ever, how do riders spend the valuable off time in the winter?

The peloton at Il Lombardia (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

The 2017 cycling season ends with China's Tour of Guangxi, the last WorldTour race and allows riders a brief break before next year. The off-season will be spent in the garden, at the Alamo or on the beach depending on whom you ask.

The WorldTour season starts in 2018 with the Tour Down Under, January 13 to 21, in Australia. With some team meetings considered, riders only have around two weeks off before their teams begin winter training camps.

>>> Autumn cycling training: eight things to do now for a successful 2018

"You hear a lot of guys going on holidays, but I think it's 50-50, many guys are happy to stay at home because you are only a few weeks there during the year," Belgian Classics star Sep Vanmarcke (Cannondale-Drapac) told Cycling Weekly.

Home is where the holiday is for Sep (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

"Now you can enjoy it, see some family, work a bit in the garden. I'm just doing things that normal people do."

Vanmarcke and his wife are welcoming their second child soon. Even if they wanted to travel, they must stay home in Flanders.

"My plans were this week to be on holidays in Argentina," Nicolas Roche (BMC Racing) said. "It was planned before the Tour de France, but I supposed that's one of the risks of planning your holidays early."

BMC Racing called Roche to race the Tour of Guangxi. It worked out well because the team has been leading mountains competition. Afterwards, he will have around two weeks not riding.

"I was really eager to discover Patagonia and all of that, but that will be postponed. I had 10 days planned, but there's no time now. Instead, I'm going to go for five days to a spa area in Tuscany, in Siena. I'll just have a few days of relaxing and refocusing for next year.

A late call-up to the Tour of Guangxi squad meant a change of plans for Nicolas Roche (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

"Initially, I thought it was going to be a nice holiday in Argentina, but on the other hand, this is work and I'm happy to be here. It turned out to be good."

"We fly straight back from the Tour of Guangxi to have the Sky meeting for the end of season in Manchester," Jon Dibben (Sky) said.

"I go on holiday after that with my girlfriend to Dubai. We don't want to go too far away because we don't have that long and it's super hot there, so we can stay on the beach and chill out.

"We'll be there a short week only and then we are back for the Dave Rayner Dinner, she's funded by that. And then straight back to Nice, a couple more weeks rest and then training begins for 2018.

"I'll take a three-week break, but I'll probably get straight away into the gym and work on a bit of strength."

Beach time for Dibben after his first season in the WorldTour with Sky
(Image credit: Andy Jones)

"I'll have a week at home relaxing and then 10 days at the beach in Sharm El Sheikh the first of November to recover," Andrea Guardini (UAE Team Emirates) added. "The Red Sea is a good area to relax because it's near Italy and without big time differences."

Americans and Australians take the opportunity to spend valuable time with their families that they are unable to see during the season spent in Europe.

Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide

"I'm just going to go home and relax," American Lawson Craddock (Cannondale-Drapac) explained. "The year has been pretty mental, so I just need a bit of restart.

"Our first anniversary is coming up in a week, so I have a small trip planned with my wife. I going to go down the Alamo and to check that out, be a true Texan for a few days then go down to the coast and go fishing.

"I'll probably only have two to three days of complete stop because it's so late in the year and you have to start training full on in December."

"I'm going back to Australia for a couple of weeks and my fiancée will come with me," Caleb Ewan (Orica-Scott) said.

"We haven't planned anything thing yet. I'm only in Australia for a couple of weeks and I only get to see my family so much during the season, so I'll spend more time with them instead of holidays."

Like many of the Aussies and Americans, Ewan will take the opportunity to make the long trip home in the off-season (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

Those riders with children must make family plans if they travel. While Vanmarcke will spend time with his newborn, others take their children with them on brief trips.

"I'm going briefly home and then going to South Africa for a team camp," said Bernhard Eisel (Dimension Data).

"My family comes down to Cape Town and we stay around one month there like we've done for the last two winters. I can holiday and train, mixing the two together.

"It's just perfect down there. It's summer down there and the weather is nice, when it's not at its best in Austria."

Bauke Mollema will take a European holiday in the off-season (Sunada)
(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

"I am taking three weeks without riding my bike," explained Bauke Mollema (Trek-Segafredo).

"I am going to Denmark. I won't be at the beach because the weather won't be so good. All year long, we are at nice places and in the sun, so I have don't want to travel too far with my two kids and have jet lag.

"I like Scandinavia. I was in Norway for the Worlds and that's clean, the people are friendly, so I started to look a bit on the internet and we found a big holiday park for things to do with the kids."

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