Mark Cavendish will swap British roads for Spanish ones tomorrow as he joins the Omega Pharma-QuickStep training camp in Mallorca.
The 2011 world road race championship will join all of his new colleagues at the Belgian super team, with whom he will race next season, having taken part in a commando-style camp with them in Slovakia last month.
Tom Boonen, whose sensational 2012 season saw him equal and set new records with victories in E3 Harelbeke, Gent-Wevelgem, the Tour of Flanders, and Paris-Roubaix, and Tony Martin, who added a second consecutive world time trial championship to his palmares this season, will be among the riders attending the camp.
Directeur sportif, Tom Steels, a former two-time winner of Gent-Wevelgem, with nine Tour de France stage wins on his palmares, said riders at the Mallorcan training camp would work in three groups.
“The first one will be made up of riders who will be going to Australia, who have to perform specific workouts that focus on rhythm more than the others.
“We will also be working on fine tuning our sprint trains to get back into the swing, and then we’ll be making the most of the situation to spend some time together and work on the time trial with our Specialized bikes.
“Anyway, overall, we still have basic work to do,” he said.
Cavendish announced his union with his OPQS in October after going public a month earlier on the eve of the Tour of Britain with his desire to leave Team Sky, having completed less than a year of his contract.
The Manx Missile and Team Sky, home to many of the riders and coaching staff with whom Cavendish learned his trade at British Cycling, parted on amicable terms.
Omega Pharma-QuickStep finished the 2012 season fourth in the UCI WorldTour team rankings, despite a dominant display in the spring Classics.
Each of the teams above them – Team Sky, Team Katusha, and Liquigas-Cannondale – enjoyed stronger performances in Grand Tours.
Cavendish’s success in cycling’s three-week stage races should bolster the Belgian team’s points tally once the spring Classics are completed.
He scored three stage wins each at the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France this season, while OPQS failed to score a stage victory in either race, although Dario Cataldo won the Queen stage of the Vuelta a Espana.
A spokesman for OPQS said the training camp would allow riders to finalise their schedules, undergo evaluation tests, and to pose for 2013 team photos.
“All team members will be participating in the training camp,” he added.