A large amount of work performed and "digested" at the training camps in December and January, already paid off at the first race of Astana Pro Team in 2019. Thus, at the Santos Tour Down Under in Australia (the first race of the UCI WorldTour in the season) Luis Leon Sanchez took a solid 4th place in the final general classification. And yesterday, Astana has successfully completed its debut European race Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, where Ion Izagirre became the overall winner, Pello Bilbao took the third place, while Astana Pro Team won the team classification.
But despite this, the preparations for the new season continued even after the end of the winter training camp in Calpe (Spain). To improve the physical condition and lead the athletes to a series of important starts of the first half of the new season, the team organized two high-altitude training camp in Tenerife (one of the Canary Islands, Spain) and in Colombia.
A training camp on Tenerife, in the vicinity of the famous volcano Teide, has always been one of the fundamental in modern professional cycling. Training at an altitude of 2000 meters allows the riders to polish the previously created physical base and ideally bring them to the main start of the year.
- We spent two weeks in Tenerife. The training camp was perfect, without any disruptions related to weather conditions. So, we managed to fully perform the amount of work planned by the trainers. The first days after arrival, we adapted to the altitude, as we were at around 2200 meters above sea level, and then the training cycle went into full force. There were four riders in our group – me, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Jakob Fuglsang and Dario Cataldo. It was very cool and comfortable to train there, we worked at this training camp as hard as possible. I can say that not only we were on Tenerife during this period, there were many other WorldTour teams, all preparing for the season. We often met, for example, Tom Dumoulin and his Team Sunweb; have seen many times our former teammate Vincenzo Nibali with his Bahrain-Merida. I think, this training camp gave a lot, it allowed me to build a good form. Of course, I still need to catch the so-called racing rhythm, but it will come with the first races. Very soon, I will go to Muscat, where the Tour of Oman will begin on February 16th, - explained Alexey Lutsenko.
The other part of the team went to Colombia at the end of January, where they also held a two-week training camp before the stage race Tour Colombia 2.1, which starts already tomorrow, on February 12th.
The Columbian training camp was attended by 6 riders: three Colombians of Astana Pro Team, Miguel Angel Lopez, Rodrigo Contreras and Hernando Bourkes and Nikita Stalnov, Jan Hirt and Davide Villella. During this camp, the leader of the Kazakh team Miguel Angel Lopez managed to win the silver medal in the individual time trial of the Colombian National Championships, demonstrating he is ready for the season.
- Our training camp went very well. For me, it was a new experience, because we lived at a high altitude, above 2500 meters above sea level, and trained at the marks of 3000 meters. This is a completely different experience and completely different physical work, which can not be compared even with Tenerife. After a week, which went on adaptation, I began to feel much better, entered the working rhythm, felt that the form is on the rise. During the training camp we carried out a large amount of work, both power and intensive. We worked on the team time trial as well. Our coach Aritz Arberas has made a great plan, which we have fully implemented. The team had a great atmosphere, our Colombian riders met us at the airport in Bogota, every day they came up with interesting routes for training, showed us different places. All the time we felt increased attention to our team, which is well known here. Every other passing car stopped to take photos or videos with us. When we stopped for a short rest, a crowd of fans gathered around us. Of course, Miguel Angel is a big star here. After the camp I feel like I am ready for the season, but I still can’t accurately assess my form, because of the altitude the feeling is quite different. We will see how the Tour of Colombia will go, but we are going there with serious ambitions, - said Nikita Stalnov.