Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pro Training During the Holidays

Little time for rest and relaxation during the holidays for a professional rider. Let's look at Lampre-ISD:

After the season ended in October the cycle of preparation for next year was already starting by the end of that month . This was followed by the first team training camp on December 4th.

What were Lampre-ISD’s riders doing during the Christmas holidays? Relaxing on sunny beaches or skiing? Huge holiday dinners with relatives? No, they spent their holidays in an intense way, focusing their attention on riding their bikes.

“No holidays, I trained every day, also thanks to the good weather. I only had a rest on December 25th," explained Michele Scarponi. "I’ll ride on December 31st and and January 1st too, there’s nothing better than beginning then new year on bike!".

Damiano Cunego decided to spend 25 December with his family: "I celebrated Christmas with my children, I didn’t ride. I trained intensively on December 24th and 26th. I’ll ride for 4 hours the last day of the year and on January 1st".

Alessandro Petacchi rode Christmas day as he prepares for the Tour Down Under in Australia. "I didn’t stop on Christmas, nor the 26th, and I won't be stopping for December 31st. For New Year’s Day, I’ll decide that morning, maybe I’ll do a light training ride". Petacchi will be the team captain for the TDU which is being held January 17-22; the team will also include Grega Bole, Danilo Hondo, Davide Cimolai, Massimo Graziato, Davide ViganĂ² and the Aussie Matthew Lloyd.

For Davide ViganĂ², also headed to Australia, there were no off days. "I rode every day, no exception for the holidays. I’ll also train on the 31st and January 1st. I've always done it this way."

Manuele Mori mixes short and long training sessions. "Two hours and thirty minutes on Christmas, five hours on December 26: this is the best way to celebrate the holidays. On December 31st I've programmed a long training ride, no less than five hours, while on New Year’s Day I think that I’ll do one hour and thirty minutes of training".

Diego Ulissi chose to balance between holiday pleasures and training. "I rested on Christmas and ate typical Tuscan food and drank Farnese wine, but on the other days I trained: the start of the season is close and it’s very important to prepare for next year in the best way".

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  1. The season is just too long these days, way too long. This month's Bicisport has some comments about this and the UCI's globalization chase for money as well as the idea of less races in Europe and more races in places like China. Our favorite comments were "cycling is a SPORT, not a business" and "cycling has FANS, not clients!" But the best was the one from the football (soccer) guys who are facing the same too-long season and FIFA's chase for more money, "we're not going to play at noon for China, that's the time for lunch!"

  2. This level of dedication does not surprise me. Professional sports of any kind requires dedication almost 12 months of the year.

    Long gone are the days when pro athletes could take two months away from their training and leave getting back into 'game shape' to a training camp.

    Athletes today must arrive at camp in top shape and ready to compete from day one. That's the nature of competition today and for the kind of money most professional athletes make, owners and fans expect little else.

  3. So were the riders of the past, when the season was more reasonable, lazy slackers? I think they too were pretty dedicated 12 months of the year. Guys like Merckx, Gimondi, Coppi and Bartali certainly were, but the season was more humane in many ways.When things are stretched worldwide and some of the most revered races with passion and history are lost while trying to globalize the sport in places where nobody cares, is this progress? We're with Bicisport on this one.