At the beginning of the preseason, Directeur Sportif of the BORA – ARGON 18 team, Enrico Poitschke gives some insights into how the pro riders develop their form after the year’s break.
Now after enjoying a bike-free off-time for a few weeks, the riders are all back again in training since early November to build up towards their highlights in 2016.
When do the pro riders get back into training after their season break?
We raced from late January to mid-October. After such an intense season, it is important that each rider takes a break of three weeks.
During this time it is key to wind down, regenerate well and to build energy again for the next season. This off-time is very important and that’s why we make sure that every rider takes a long enough break. Most of our riders get back into training in the first week of November.
Some riders who had a lot of race days or who we noticed to be especially exhausted after the long season are asked to extend the break by one week.
What types of training and objectives are of priority right now in November?
In those first weeks, it is more of a basic training rather than an intensive or specialized training. The riders should start with an easy basic and strength training.
After two weeks the intensity will gradually increase. Above, stability training is necessary with the aim that the back and abdominal muscles are strengthened again – because they are usually neglected in the season.
This first phase of the training is the same for all the riders for about three to four weeks. From December on, other training stimuli are set for the riders who are supposed to be in top shape in the spring.
The off-season is also an opportunity to treat yourself away from the usual diet plans. Does the weight gain affect the training start?
Actually, it is even intended that the riders gain some weight and add body fat in the season break. That is also part of a good recovery.
Sometimes the riders compete on the edge during the season with some very low body fat ratios. It is important that this is re-built before the season starts again.
Adding to the fact that it also stabilizes the body’s defenses – especially now in the winter months, when a higher infection risk exists.
Away from infections: are there other dangers during the winter training that could risk the shape for spring?
The greatest danger is over-motivation. That is why every rider should be careful with starting too intensively and should rather concentrate on a smooth built-up.
We observe such an over-motivation especially often with young inexperienced athletes or riders who are dissatisfied with their last season. They are then extremely motivated for the next season, causing key errors already in training that will revenge in the future.
The riders are usually trained by their home coaches. How do you, the team’s sport directors, consult with the riders and home coaches?
Firstly, we give general guidelines at the beginning of the preseason training. This includes in particular that every rider knows when his first race is planned.
During the first preseason team meeting at the end of November we will be more specific. We’ll have individual meetings with each rider to fine-tune the built-up and the structure of the racing program.
On this occasion, the current level of training is being questioned and possible errors in training are detected early.