The new cycling season is on the doorstep. We are here in Adelaide the Tour Down Under which sort of begins later today with a criterium through town. While this has no significance on the General Classification outcome of the race, it’s the first opportunity for the teams to race together against each other and test lead-out trains at a WorldTour standard.
Our riders arrived in Adelaide a week ago or so and have bad a steady block of good training since then. There were still teams arriving three days ago when I arrived, suffice to say it will be interesting to see how they fare, jet lag is no joke as I am finding out.
This is the first opportunity I’ve had to get my hands on our riders, check on progress and tweak any issues since we gathered for our training camp in Boulder in November. Each season see’s some riders come, and some go, so the November training camp is always the first real opportunity to meet the new riders, get their histories from an injury perspective and start to optimise their function biomechanically.
Typically as a chiro this involves a lot of hands on stuff, while giving riders pointers and direction on things to work on over the winter if it’s necessary. I am pleased to say those that had ‘homework’ over the last six weeks or so have carried it out and there’s been improvement since November. My view is that it doesn’t take a long time necessarily to see change when you are on the right track but finding that track for the individual is the key to getting the most improvement.
I saw on a poster out here “Don’t dream of winning, train for it”. This made me think of the preparation our riders go though before they go out to train. On dropping into their rooms you will often see them going through a warm up routine involving core stability, proprioception and coordination work, neural activation exercises, dynamic stretches, all interesting stuff that you wouldn’t necessarily expect to see or be part of a cyclists remit that these days is. In other sports such as football or rugby these warm-ups are obvious as they’re typically done on the pitch in full view of the crowd, here they are done in hotel room floors with the beds pushed back! I guess this is just one of the small things that being a Professional is all about.
I was responsible for meeting our physio John at Gatwick last week who made a day return flight from Girona to drop me off our new kit – hows that for service – for me to bring it to Adelaide. You can never be too sure whether stuff will get caught up in customs and for how long. The general consensus amongst those of us that have been with the team a few years is that this is the best looking kit we’ve had, and the biased view is that in a peloton of similar looking drab kits, ours wins the style award for what its worth, which isn’t that much!
So with our team here in Australia kicking off the new season in a modest 25 degrees, with its great blend of youth and experience, the dapper new kit, everyone being acclimatised and with jet-lag gone here’s to starting as we mean to go on, and wishing the boys all the best for this afternoon.