Technical & Development director Ricardo Scheidecker, Sam Bennett and Zdenek Stybar look back on a successful training camp.
“Our training camp in Val di Fassa has been a great success”, said Ricardo Scheidecker. “The riders got in some solid training and we rediscovered our group spirit and the unity within the team”. According to Scheidecker, both the physical aspect as well as the psychological benefits of spending time together have been of crucial importance. “After such a long period of physical separation it was important to get everybody together for this training camp. In terms of physical preparation, we did what we wanted to do. Building up the riders’ physical condition is of course why we train at altitude to prepare the upcoming races. But spending those three weeks together on top of a mountain was equally important. The weeks flew by. Everyone was happy and motivated.”
The Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders and staff now have a couple of days to recover from the training camp before traveling to different parts in Europe for our first post-coronavirus races: Vuelta a Burgos, Strade Bianche and the Heistse Pijl.
“We’re definitely looking forward to racing again. We feel that we are where we have to be and we expect to be ourselves in the upcoming races. I’ve seen some very good performance indicators in Val di Fassa, which means our preparation has been going very well. I have to thank our amazing team of coaches and sports directors for this. We’ll restart the season with the same motivation and ambition as before”, added Ricardo Scheidecker. “From that perspective I don’t expect any difference with our race attitude before COVID-19. We’ll go to the races to win, as we always do. We’re not driven by the number of victories. Each race is an objective on its own, with its own story and experience. Pressure is inherent, because we are professionals and expect a lot of ourselves. Our main objective has always been winning races. That’s what we’ll continue to fight for.”
In a time when safety, health and hygiene are some of the main themes in cycling and by extension in society, the work of our medical staff has been indispensable, said Scheidecker: “Our doctors’ efforts have been fundamental in this whole process. In today’s context they have additional responsibilities, think of all the extra requirements and measures. It’s a big challenge for a medical team to minimize the risks of contagion. I want to stress that they are doing a great job. They are very committed, just as the rest of the staff.”
Irish National Champion Sam Bennett was also extremely satisfied about his time in Val di Fassa: “It was definitely one of the most enjoyable altitude camps I ever did”, he said. “It felt like the quickest one too as time flew by. Val di Fassa is a fantastic place and the roads and sceneries are truly amazing. I’m sure you could do great hikes here if you have the time. All in all, it was a fantastic camp and we did some great work here that hopefully will stand to us in the coming weeks.”
Also Zdenek Stybar talked about an amazing experience in the Dolomites: “First of all, it was great to see everyone again in Val di Fassa. It’s always nice to train together. It’s been quite a tough training camp, good in terms of both quality and quantity. Everybody was enthusiastic about the roads and the climbs. It’s been nice to discover new places too. We’re in good shape now and ready to start the second part of the season. We’re thrilled to finally be back!”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel