Dan Martin is set to meet up tomorrow with his new Etixx – Quick Step team mates for the Belgian squad’s first training camp ahead of next season. The team are meeting up in Denia, a small city on the Costa Blanca, halfway between Alicante and Valencia.
As part of the training camp, the riders and the staff will lay the foundations for the new season and outline their schedule and goals. The riders will be combining various leisure activities with sessions on the bike and in the gym, with the team divided in three groups, based on their goals and 2016 schedule.
The roster next year will be made up of 30 cyclists, including the eight new ones who signed with Etixx – Quick-Step during the transfer period: Rodrigo Contreras, Laurens De Plus, Fernando Gaviria, Marcel Kittel, Bob Jungels, Dan Martin, Davide Martinelli and Maximiliano Richeze.
Martin joins the team from Cannondale-Garmin who he has raced with since turning professional back in 2008. He has taken some very big wins with the team including the Volta a Catalunya and Liège–Bastogne–Liège in 2013, and the Giro di Lombardia in 2014.
However, he endured a very difficult 2015 season having been caught up in a big crash in Liège–Bastogne–Liège. He struggled in the Tour of Romanide shortly afterwards, where he was diagnosed with two broken ribs, which he had sustained in the Liège crash. In the Vuelta a Espana, he crashed out of the race on Stage 8.
Martin joins the team after signing a two-year contract and he will join forces with Julian Alaphilippe in the Ardennes Classics. CEO of Etixx-Quick Step, Patrick Lefevere, also feels that the Irishman is capable of winning stage races.
Koen Pelgrim, the team’s trainer and physiologist outlined what the training camp will involve for the riders.
“The training camp will be similar to last year’s. We will begin with the marketing material, and continue with physical testing and core stability screening for all riders. After the first two days, we will start training on the bike, mixing it with fitness sessions in order to strengthen the body,” Pelgrim said.
“The team will be split into three groups: one which will prepare for the races in Australia, one for the Classics and sprints, and one for the climbers. Joining us for all these tests will be the staff of the Bakala Academy, whose input will be very important, as always”, said
The terrain around Denia was one of the factors which influenced the move from Calpe where the team previously held training camps.
“We are going to Denia because it’s much easier to begin our preparations here, as there are more flat kilometres around and we want to work on our lead-out for Marcel Kittel. It will be interesting to see how the guys will react to this,” Pelgrim said.
“We also have scheduled some track testing for aerodynamics on the Valencia track, which will complement the ones we already did with Specialized, at the Morgan Hill wind tunnel. Bottom line, we are all looking forward to a nice training camp.”