Is this why they call Mark Cavendish the Manx Missile?
Last week I told you how Omega Pharma-QuickStep were, erm, jetting off to Slovakia for their annual pre-season team building training camp – now the obligatory photos have landed in the RoadCyclingUK inbox.
The team’s riders and backroom staff were divided into eight “mission teams” of six or seven members, who completed two days of “intense training” - obstacle courses, defence techniques, climbing, shooting, orienteering, and search and rescue.
OPQS aren’t the only WorldTour team to have ditched the bike at their pre-season camp, with pictures showing Lotto-Belisol’s Andre Greipel kite surfing and abseiling in the Dutch Zeeland, and Radioshack-Nissan-Trek’s Andy Schleck wood chopping in Luxembourg.
Team Sky, however, are two weeks into a three-month rolling training camp on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, where last winter the foundations were set for Bradley Wiggins’ Tour de France victory.
Wiggins arrived at Team Sky’s pre-season media day in January having already completed two months of focussed training and told the assembled press how he was in the best shape of his life.
In his recently published book, My Time, Wiggins explains how that base training was an essential prelude to his remarkable season, when the old-world cycling rule book would have otherwise seem him roll along on cafe runs through winter and then try and race himself fit over the course of the season.
The British WorldTour team have shown in their three years in the sport that they’re not afraid to rip up the rule book. They were laughed out of town when riders started warming down after races – and now everyone is doing it.
And you can’t help that feel that, while an SAS-style survival camp makes for a good photo opportunity (flick through our gallery below), Wiggins and co are already getting the upper hand ahead of the 2013 season.