FEATURE: "We enjoyed it so much we decided to do an extra 30kilometres."

Sun 21 Jan 2018

On the road with Mitchelton-SCOTT in Spain at a training camp with a difference.

Early season training camps are nothing new and for the riders already in Europe whilst the racing proper gets underway in the Southern hemisphere, a mild weather Mediterranean base will be on the cards to step up the pre-season fine tuning.

For Mitchelton-SCOTT this fine-tuning hits another level as the team undertake a rolling camp that once concluded will have covered over 1,500kilometres down the Spanish coast and ascended thousands of altitude metres.

“The whole idea behind this kind of training camp,” explained sport director Laurenzo Lapage. “Is to get the riders doing some challenging, long volume days early in the season and getting their bodies used to the effort again. We want to try and replicate the longer one-day races and Grand Tour stages that can be challenging mentally and physically.”

“Often at these early season camps the routes that the riders use each day tend to be almost the same and the repetition is something we wanted to avoid. This way the riders take on a new route every day and we gradually move south down the Spanish coast over changing terrain. Like a stage race.

“Most days are over 200kilometres with the climbing days ascending over 3,500 elevation metres over different types of climbs of varying gradients and length. It would be really difficult to do this kind of touring camp with the full squad, with a smaller group it’s ideal and this a great time of year to be here in Spain with the mild weather and quiet roads.”

Two blocks into the three-block camp and the team have already passed the 1,000kilometre mark and take the time on the rest days to enjoy Paella in Valencia and some artisan coffee in Cartagena. Carlos Verona describes the feeling of the long days and how the camps positive aspects are benefitting the riders.

“We finished off the first four days with a beautiful 200kilometre ride into Valencia,” said Verona. “Taking our first total up to 825kilometres ridden, we were starting to feel tired and ready for our first rest day, but the weather and the scenic roads have made every day really positive and we are all happy with how the camp is going.”

“It has not been easy, but so far it has been a fantastic training camp and all the guys have agreed that discovering new places and challenging ourselves to complete each day whilst riding as a unit and helping each other has been great. Especially as the tiredness starts to bite after a long winter.

“After our first rest day in Valencia we got going again with a steady and flat 170kilometrers down the coast with the last 70kilometres ridden on our SCOTT Plasma time trial bikes in really mild conditions for this time of year. It was that good we decided to add on an extra 30kilometres before calling it a day to take us up to 200.

“The last couple of days have been in the mountains around Alicante and then down into the region of Murcia. We ascended over 3,600metres in 190kilometres on what was easily the hardest of the Tour so far before finishing off this second block with a long, but steady (34kph) ride to Cartagena.

“We have two more difficult days ahead before the camp ends with both days climbing specific and covering a total of 400kilometres and close to 7,000 elevation metres, for sure it will be hard. Nevertheless, we are all having a great time and this alternative method of training camp is working well for the group and we all understand the benefits it will bring as we start our season.”