It’s been a tough couple of week’s work for the Endura riders on this camp. Although they came in from a seven hour jaunt on Tuesday, the training has been as much about quality as quantity. With its various reps, time trial efforts, intervals, motorpacing and leadouts, the piece of A4 paper that maps out the whole fortnight’s training schedule looks something like a torture regime. “Steady miles is what they should have been doing over the winter,” explained DS Alex Sans Vega. “Here’s where we get them ready for racing.”
Ready for racing they need to be as the action starts as early as Sunday for eight of the riders. They’ll be facing the likes of Contador, Evans and the Schlecks. So, with the cumulative fatigue of the camp’s efforts being felt by many last night, today was dedicated to travel and recuperation. While the bulk of the British riders on the team flew back to Stansted with just a few days break at home before the Tour of the Med starts on Thursday, the Challenge Ciclista Mallorca riders (including young Brits Jonny McEvoy and Erick Rowsell) went either for short light spins or stayed off the bike completely.
At about midday I found four of the slackers sat around a table in the hotel bar. German Paul Voß was lost to his headphones while Australian Jack Anderson was knocking back coffees and cracking jokes to Alex Wetterhall. The Swede explained he’d done a little core work on a gym ball that morning but that would suffice. Alex Blain meanwhile had his head in a computer game. “I am the boss,” the Frenchman announced when the conversation turned to his obsession. It transpired that he was playing a simulation where he was the manager of an Alpine ski resort. “I play it a lot,” he admitted before turning his attention back to virtual snow patrol. “That piste is just too dangerous,” he told the laptop.
Those that ventured out, didn’t go far. Dean Windsor and pals only rode round to Magaluf before pulling up at a café. “That place is like Blackpool,” he noted. The only sweat Basque Iker Camano worked up was in the sauna.
It’s fair to say these riders had deserved their indulgences. To all intents and purposes the Endura camp had reached its end today. Tomorrow the remaining riders will again head out on their bikes and pedal northeast across the island. This will not so much be a training session but a transfer to another hotel – to be more precise: the official Challenge Ciclista Mallorca hotel. By tomorrow evening they’ll be back in race mode. The new season will have effectively started.
Endura race lineups
Challenge Ciclista Majorca (January 5th-9th)
Alexandre Blain (first two days only)
Tour of the Mediterranean (January 9th-12th)