With the always-changing environment and the cancellation of some of the early-season goals, our Performance Staff is now busy with the creation of the training plans for each of our talents. Ioannis Tamouridis, our Performance Manager, sat down with us for a quick Q&A about the current state of the preparation and how they deal with setting long-term goals. 

What’s the main focus of the training of the talents now?
With races being canceled one after the other the most difficult part of our job right now is to keep the riders motivated. But it is also very difficult for the performance staff to design a final long-term plan because the racing goals are changing every week. However, we decided to extend their general preparation period and continue developing their performance, focusing on basic training aspects instead of bringing them in top shape at the moment. The positive fact, based on the field and lab tests, is that all the riders remain in good condition and their development progress is upward.

How the current planning changes from a ‘normal’ season?
Under normal circumstances, this period would have been dedicated to bringing the riders in almost top shape and being ready for the first important races of the season, with a planning team training camp in Greece. Instead, we try to slow down this progress and also focus on improving some potential individual weaknesses, knowing that we have extra time to work on it.
Also, with the current situation the new riders didn’t have the opportunity so far to meet and train with the old members of the team and this is something that affects the team spirit and the relationships between them. We work on this with often virtual Team meetings and webinars and we participate in a series of eRaces (Beneliga) where riders have to work together for the result.

With the current restrictions, how’s the performance staff organised to have the riders at the best condition?
With all the different restrictions that apply in each country it is difficult at the moment to set up a team training camp, which would be ideal for our riders preparation and ‘team building’. However, understanding the need to prepare our riders in warmer conditions, we tried to guide them to ideal solutions with less risk. So, we decided to divide the team in two  groups and follow different training and preparation approaches regarding their racing goals, permission of travelling, days of quarantine etc. In this way the group of the Dutch and Belgian riders did a preparation cycle in Spain and will do another one camp next days in Limburg and the group with the British and Italian riders will go for training in Greece.
Of course this is not easy, because the regulations are changing very often and we need to respect these rules and the riders safety, but the decisions we have made so far have helped our riders to prepare in the proper conditions.