The pre-season training camp has become an essential part of gearing up for the first races for pro teams nowadays and the Irish An Post-Chain Reaction Cycles team is one of many to choose Calpe as its base.
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When we were there at the beginning of this week, there were four or five other teams at the Diamante Beach hotel, including Dimension Data and Katusha-Alpecin. The car park opposite the hotel was filled with team trucks and mechanics’ stands.
In the tourism off-season the hotels welcome the custom that teams can bring, and provide food and facilities geared towards hungry pros – although you need to have sharp elbows and be there early to make sure you’re well fed. With a couple of hundred hungry cyclists descending on the hotel’s restaurant, it’s a job for the chefs to keep up.
An Post-Chain Reaction coupled their training with the team launch, with a large number of journalists and others flying out for the presentation. With the guests keen to ride with Sean Kelly, the team’s training was interrupted by photo opportunities on the roads around Calpe – and by the unseasonal cold and snowfall.