The worldwide pandemic forced most of our races to be rescheduled and therefore our goals and ambitions were moved up to a different slot in the calendar. That meant that our riders had to follow different training programs and adjust their development to what is going on at the moment in the world. With the new set of compressed races that we have been doing recently, meant that the Performance Staff had to trace a tailor-made plan for each of the riders so they could tackle their goals with almost no time in between one and another. We sat down with Ioannis Tamouridis, our Performance Manager, to get the specifics of it.
– How much has the training plans changed because of the COVID situation and the period without race?
It was a weird and difficult year everywhere in the world, not only for sports and cycling. We went through an insecure period that nobody could say when the racing season would start and which race would survive after the financial crisis. We tried to find alternatives to keep our riders trained and motivated but also to continue their important performance development. An effective addition was the virtual eRaces which in combination with outdoor training helped our riders train all the necessary physical attributes while at the same time keep their racing spirit and motivation high.
– Once it was clear that some races would happen, how did the Performance Team structure the training plans of the riders?
We took the decision to prepare the riders in order to bring them in top shape immediately from the very first races. One reason was that the remaining racing period wasn’t so long while the second reason was the fear of a new lockdown which could cause the end of the season. We had all the necessary time for a well-structured training plan without pressure and after we completed the necessary performance tests, we designed an appropriate training approach. At the end of the training season and very close to the first race we scheduled a training camp in Limburg with the goal to bring the riders together and give them the final tune-up.
– With many races in a row, what’s been the performance focus in between races?
Of course, it depends on the personal goal and performance level of each rider. We always aim to bring the riders to a perfect condition and fresh at the start line even if this is not always possible. When the racing schedule is too ‘busy’, then the first priority is automatically becoming the need for recovery and the maintenance of the performance. In case that a rider is behind in performance, then a more specific and intensive training program will take place.