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BMC's Directeur Sportif John Lelangue together with Jackson Stewart.
BMC's Directeur Sportif John Lelangue together with Jackson Stewart.

Warming up for Training Camp: Lelangue's 12 month advantage

7. January 2009

Santa Rosa

With the BMC Racing Team's January training camp just days away, Directeur Sportif John Lelangue is in the final stages of preparation for the 15 day gathering. 

Beginning his second full year with the team, Lelangue is pleased to have had the benefit of working with and learning about the BMC riders' qualities this past year.  "The big advantage I have this year over last is that I have had the chance to follow most of our riders for an entire year," Lelangue explained.  "I have a 12 month history with the guys on the team in 2008 and I have been working with the few new riders since November; we have really kept good contact." 

For the already close-knit group, riding will be the focus at camp

Though it is typical to hold two training camps, one week in December and one week in January, BMC has made it a habit to have one longer training camp in January.  "We have found that a longer camp in January where we can fine tune the training the guys have done since November, works much better for us than splitting them into two camps," Lelangue said.  "The January camp will always have time taken up for team photos and medical testing, but this way we can also have the time to reconnoitre Tour of California stages, and get the team going to the Tour of Qatar ready for their particular stages like the team time trial."  Having 15 days of camp to work with, the managers can take the training days in three blocks of five days a piece.  "We can have three periods of ramping up intensity for four days to have a fifth day for recovery, which is a very good way to put on the finishing touches," Lelangue revealed.  The group carries over an easy harmony from the previous season since BMC experienced very little turnover.  "We still have a large core group from last year which works very well together," Lelangue said.  "And of the new riders, the four new Swiss members are all very familiar and friendly with each other, as their Mallorca mini training camp proved, and Chad Beyer is well known from his time on the US National team."  The team bonds have largely already been made, freeing up camp time to focus entirely on the racing just around the corner.

Focusing on early season race schedules

"Each rider has been working on his training regime since November," Lelangue explained.  "I have been keeping track of their progress by having weekly discussions with everyone so we know where they all are in terms of intensity."  The riders have known the first two months of their racing schedules since November, which has helped guide them in their preparations.  "We are not a ProTour team with big leaders targeting goals like the Tour or the Classics, rather every race we consider to be our main objective," Lelangue said.  "We are certainly focused on performing well in UCI events, and will have to be more conservative in our tactics, so that we are more prominent in the final hour of every race we do."  Lelangue has made it very clear that animating the race will no longer be enough; racing to win will be the focus in '09.  "For each race we need to enter at least the top 10, and all our riders know that we will build the teams for the April and May events on the strength of their February and March performances," Lelangue explained.  "Gavin and I have told the guys that we will field the best team for any given event, and they have to be ready to prove themselves throughout the year."  Everyone is keen to step up to the challenge and Lelangue believes in the positive pressure the desire for tangible results will put on the team.  "This is a competitive sport and striving to win will always exert a good sort of pressure on the riders," Lelangue said.  "The attitude is totally different from last year, but we have earned our confidence."