Cycling teams’ winter training camps are often the first chance for new team members to meet their colleagues and form a bond that will see them through the following season on the road.

It used to be that the riders would indulge in a leisurely ride, a press conference and a meal or two. Then the CSC team raised the bar with its military-style boot camps in the mid-2000s, which saw team boss Bjarne Riis marching his camo-clad men around Norwegian bogs to toughen them up a bit.

These days anything goes – camping, shooting, hiking, go-karting, caving… more akin to an office team-building session than a serious way to get in shape. And why not, they’ve got the following 11 and a half months to smash themselves to pieces on a bike, nose glued to a power meter.

And it all makes for some great photos, too.

Andre Greipel, a BMX and some cups of water

Pim Ligthart takes a shot for Lotto-Belisol

Bart DeClerq goes for a run

That’s Andre Greipel’s thighs stuck in a cave

Riders are under contract to wear their former team’s clothing until the end of 2013

Vincenzo Nibali in a go-kart at the Astana winter camp

Astana’s Evan Huffman in action

Vincenzo Nibali tops the go-kart podium, of course

Jakob Fuglsang is very happy with his result

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