Monday, 16 February 2009

In Review: Team Presentation, Training Camp and "Prova de Abertura"

Team Presentation:

The team presentation was in an old, restored market place in the center of Tavira. It was much more elaborate that in previous years. A professional photographer and film crew were employed to produce a video and accompanying photo’s for a brochure.

Many people came to the presentation, especially from the press. It was open to the public so anyone could come and go as they please, with canapés and drinks laid on for who ever. Cyclists and staff were all given brand new, tailor made suits for this. The sponsors were individually presented, followed by a short piece on each of the cyclists and staff. Here is the link to the brochure presented:

I disliked being called "equipier" in the brochure and consider myself a "rolador". I think I have earn that, having frequently won intermediate prizes and worked a lot on the front of the bunch. One day, I hope to be; "completo".

Training Camp:

Training camp was fun. We are all friends on the team which helps. On occasion I have resented training camps. Usually this only happened when I had a girl friend, family or friends near by that I couldn't be with because of it. But after a bad month with horrid weather and no electricity, it was a pleasure to find myself in a four star hotel by the beach in warm sunshine! The incessant photographs do weary one after a while, but it was a small price to pay.

New Team Members:

One is a celebrity in the purest sense of the world; he has multitudes flock to the road side just to see him. He is Cândido Barbosa with 101 professional victories to his name. André Cardoso, only my age, has won a "Volta a Portugal do Futuro" and a mountains classification in the "Volta". Also new to the team are Henrique Casimiro and Daniel Mestre, but these guys I knew from my time on the amateur team; Tavira/DUJA.

"Prova de Abertura":

This race usually passes a similar course year on year beginning and ending in Faro. It's not very hilly and the roads are good, which explains the 44kph average speed we set. The sun was shining and a strong wind from the east just to make it a little more interesting.

My job was simple: To get on the wheel of anyone wanting to escape who might pose a threat or be from a particularly threatening squad. I did this easily enough. Eventually I escaped with a group of 12 that established itself at the head of the race. There were two “metas volantes” along the way and I won them both and the over all in that classification. But disappointingly this didn't merit a call to the podium. I was left wondering: What is the point in placing a classification on course if the winner is hardly mentioned?

After my escapade, I used up the rest of my energy bringing back Tiago Machado. He was formidably strong and made a fantastic -although predictably doomed- effort to stay away. The last 20 kilometers I rested up at the back of the bunch. I could not be of much use to my team as I had little top end power. And I was not part of the group preparing the sprint. I got caught in split in the final 3 km and didn’t have enough energy or drive to sprint up to the front, so I lost a minute to the winner: Theo Bos, winning his first road race! A five time world champion on track I believe. Here are detailed results:

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