The 32-year-old Belgian is counting down the days until his first race, the Tour of Oman.
“I was back in Belgium last week after the second training camp in Calpe. It went well, already a bit heavier than the first camp in December. We spent a lot of hours on the bike, a lot of shorts sprints, making the perfect jump to the third training camp this week in Algarve. Now we mostly did long training rides and short sprints, in Algarve we will really have efforts similar to a race. A heavy effort of ten minutes, repeated a few times with longer sprints. Really like if we were riding a race for a couple of days already.”
“For me training camps are the perfect occasion to get to know your new teammates and bond with everyone. We have a lot of nationalities here in the team, so it’s really nice to all see each other. For the new riders we have our traditional ‘baptism’ in December, which is great for the atmosphere. After the long hours on the bike together also the new guys are really quickly part of the group. All the riders are competitive and you really take the most out of each other on training. Every day we sprint and race against each other. Every training ends with a sprint, and during training we also sometimes do a couple of small sprints. For me, lifting up each other and taking the most out of it together is the key to why a training camp in a group is more interesting than an individual training camp. And the weather of course is also an important advantage, you train better and your morale is higher.”
Full gas track training
“Back in Belgium we sometimes plan a track training in Gent, like we did last week, and which is always super intensive. The intensity in combination with the speed is impossible to reach on the road. Then we went to recon a part of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, then you do the climbs all out, but here you ride with a high cadence, high speed and full gas – that you really can’t reach anywhere else. On training camps we do some long rides, which is also good as that’s the complete opposite again. Normally we do two sessions on the track behind the electric scooter, with sprints and exercises. The exercises are short but really full out.”
“Everything went well so far, the preparations for the start of the season are running as they should. I really love to race, the more I can race the better, so it can really start for me now. It always takes long until the first race. As a team we will try to win as many races again as possible and I think that’s definitely possible if you look at the names representing our squad again. For myself the most important thing is to do my job in the best way possible and to be part of the winning feeling knowing I did and gave my absolute best.”
Photo credit: ©Wout Beel