A day at Lotto Belisol training camp

A few minutes before half past seven the alarm goes off in the rooms of the Lotto Belisol riders in the Iberostar Royal Christina on Mallorca, unless they are woken up earlier – past Wednesday at six – for a doping control. A bit later they are expected in the gym in the basement where physiotherapists Tim Aerts and Hans Minnen further develop and follow up the core stability exercises the riders were taught this winter. After all, the importance of injury prevention can’t be underrated. It’s only after that the riders have breakfast.

The daily training starts at ten o’clock sharp. The big group, without the injured Greg Henderson and Bart De Clercq, is split in three, depending on the type of rider and the moment he will enter in competition. For the third year in a row the drawing up of the individual training programmes is in hands of the trainers of Energy Lab, who analyze the results of each rider after every training and if necessary adjust the programme. Mostly they train four to four and a half hours, with a changing intensity. Some riders prefer to stay even longer in the saddle. On the two relative rest days there is ‘only’ a training of one and a half to two hours. After the light afternoon lunch it’s time for massage. Where a few decades ago a training camp in December was mainly meant for teambuilding, now the first appointments in Australia and Argentina are already coming closer. And nobody wants to miss the train. There are no excesses.

A first training camp is also the moment for individual and collective sessions, that mostly take place before dinner. Interviews, discussions about the programme, setting goals, consultation with the dietician, sweat analysis, daily medical consultations, administrative formalities, information by technical partners,… Now there’s time for this. Later, when everybody swarms out all over the world, that’s not longer possible.

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