A few minutes before 7am the alarm goes off in the rooms of the Lotto-Belisol riders in the Iberostar Royal Christina on Mallorca, unless they are woken earlier, 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. The importance of injury prevention can’t be underrated.
After that the riders have breakfast.
The daily training rides start at 10am sharp. The team, currently without the injured Greg Henderson and Bart De Clercq, is split in three, depending on the type of rider and 2014 race schedule.
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 analyse the results of each rider after every training day and if necessary adjust the programme.
Riders train four to four and a half hours, with a changing intensity. Some prefer a longer day in the saddle. On the two relative rest days there is 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 team building, today, with the first events in Australia and Argentina closing in quickly, no rider wants to miss the train, so there are no off season excesses.
A first training camp is also the time for individual and collective sessions, which usually take place before dinner. Interviews, discussions about race programmes, setting goals, consultation with the dietician, sweat analysis, daily medical consultations, administrative formalities, information by technical partners.
There is time for this at the training camp. Later, when the riders swarm out all over the world, it's no longer possible.