It is mid-December, shortly before Christmas. Just a few days ago the UCI awarded the last remaining pro team licenses, the transfer roundabout is slowly coming to a close and after the November wave of vacations the winter break is already over for the majority of pro riders. The same applies to the riders of our new Katusha pro team who completed the first training camp of the 2012 season just a few days ago. As supplier to the team we also had to be there and so a Canyon delegation set off for Italy with the brand new bikes in the team design in their luggage.
The week in Tuscany would give everyone the chance to get to know each other, to test the equipment and define aims for the new season. The Russian team is still riding under the old Gerolsteiner leadership with Hans-Michael Holczer as General Manager. We are also very happy that we’ll have the support of our two Canyon Heroes Michael Rich and Erik Zabel as professional advisors in the coming season.
The excitement and expectations of all the participants were very great because it was the very first meeting and for the time being also the last. This is because at the end of the month when the second training camp takes place on Mallorca, several of the 29-strong team will be already taking part in the first races of the season, for example the Tour Down Under (from 17 to 22 January 2012).
The schedule was therefore extremely tight with the bike set-up for the riders, photo-shooting, training and so on, but thanks to the relaxed atmosphere there was little sign of stress and time pressure.
After the round of introductions it was finally time to begin with the presentation of the team’s equipment and the setting up of the riders’ bikes.
Gentlemen, we proudly present the multiple test -winning chassis Ultimate CF SLX and the pro road machine the Aeroad CF in the Katusha team design. The first reactions from the riders were very positive indeed.
Michael Rich and our mechanics explained and demonstrated everything connected with the new bike geometries, specs and technical innovations and responded in detail to the riders’ questions.
This was a great success because the bikes were, as expected, extremely popular among the riders!
After the riders had been familiarized with the new equipment the set- up of each rider’s bike began under the watchful eye of ex-Gerolsteiner pro Ronny Scholz. The switch to new material is a major challenge – even for the pros and the set-up therefore takes quite a bit of time and requires above all a little technical skill. Very fine adjustments need to be made to stems, handlebars and saddles until the bike is perfectly adapted to meet the needs of the individual rider. The same procedure applies to the shoes, which were specially made by Shimano, and indeed to the rest of the team clothing from the socks right through to the gloves. After the set -up was completed it was a matter of testing and getting used to everything. This meant a ride out into the winter weather in Tuscany. The riders whizzed along the roads in really pleasant winter temperatures and always under the supervision of advisors and ex-pro Erik Zabel. The multi-national team with its top pros Denis Menchov and Joaquin Rodrigues has gelled well together and has big aims in 2012. Riding in the peloton was just as important a part of the daily training schedule as training in small groups and theoretical sprint training using video analysis.
The first training camp was an all-round success and we are looking forward to a successful German-Russian partnership and above all a mega exciting 2012 racing season.