Team CSC - "California Here We Come"
The number one ProTour team has arrived in Calfornia for the pre Tour of
California Camp for two weeks of training.
Following the big team training camp in South Africa, where the entire Riis
Cycling/Team CSC organization participated, it is time for Team CSC's first
intensive training camp for the riders, which will last for two weeks from
California is the chosen location, where all the riders will gather to work
towards reaching top form with the end result hopefully being a string of
victories over the next ten months.
Michael Blaudzun is the rider, who has been with Team CSC for the longest
time. He joined already in 1999 and this is his ninth season in a row with the
team. So he knows what to expect in California even though a lot of things have
changed since 1999.
"It is a unique couple of weeks, because the training is very systematic and
incredibly tough. A lot of the riders leave this camp totally worn out. It will
be two grueling weeks, but at the same time it's nicer and more fun to train all
of us together. I don't think that many teams train the way, where it's that
intense and with the entire team all at once, like Bjarne [Riis] started doing
when he took over," says Blaudzun and continues:
"We've each had to stick to specific training programs ahead of the camp so
that everyone is in shape and once we're out there on the roads there's always a
bit of a competition going on – it's only natural, when we've all got a winning
instinct I guess."
For Blaudzun and several other riders on the team this way of training has
come to be a habit, but of course this is not the case for the new riders.
Although he is not American you could say the training camp is on home ground
for Argentinean sprinter Juan José Haedos, because he has lived in California
for a few years, while riding for American teams. But contrary to the
geographical familiarity "JJ" is far from familiar with this particular method.
"I'm really looking forward to going back to California, but it's not exactly
a picnic. I've been told by some of the others that Team CSC training camps are
extremely tough and that some riders actually fear them, so I'm a bit
apprehensive myself now," says Haedo without negativity though and the social
aspect is very much on his mind as well, "My first time with the team at the
training camp in South Africa was a very positive experience, and when you've
had a good time with people you look forward to hanging out with them again."
Fabian Cancellara is also fairly new to the team with this being his second
Team CSC season. "I remember the first actual training camp last year as
extremely tough, but I get, where JJ is coming from because he is used to
smaller American teams and this is entirely different," says the Swiss Time
Trial World Champion.
"This is a different way of training compared to what I've seen on other
teams. We train together all of us for this period of time – never alone – and
the way it works is, that all the stuff we learned in South Africa we put into
practice here. It's a long camp, but even though it's tougher than our usual
training it's still so much more fun and over that much quicker as well,"
explains Cancellara, who does point out one thing, which may make this
particular training camp a little bit tougher that others for him, "I had a
daughter a couple of months back and it was really hard to be away from her for
a week and a half, when we were in South Africa, so of course it'll be even
harder this time, where I'm gone almost the whole of February. But I'll just
have to work that much harder in order to distract myself," finishes Cancellara.