PezCycling News - What's Cool In Road Cycling : DS Mario Aerts About the Team Training Camp in Livigno

DS Mario Aerts About the Team Training Camp in Livigno
While the Tour de France is underway, a major part of the other Lotto Soudal riders is currently staying in Livigno from 7 until 22 July to prepare for the second part of the season. Sports director Mario Aerts talks about the objectives of the training camp and why the popular ski resort in northern Italy is such a perfect place to train.

Mario Aerts: “The main purpose of this training camp is to work towards the second half of the season for those riders who are not competing in the Tour de France. At the moment, there are no other races for Lotto Soudal, so we have been organising a training camp instead for several years now. That way, the riders can train in group and don’t need to go out on their own. There are several absentees: Adam Hansen, Lars Bak, Tim Wellens and Tosh Van der Sande. Lawrence Naesen is recovering from mononucleosis.”

Not only the Lotto Soudal riders are preparing for their second part of the season in Livigno. A lot of other professional cyclists are also currently residing in the mountain village close to the legendary Stelvio climb. But what exactly makes this place such a perfect destination for a training camp?

Mario Aerts: “There are two important reasons for that. First, Livigno is located at around 1,800 metres above sea level and our hotel even lies a bit higher. It rarely happens that we go below 700 metres during training. So, you are sleeping and training at a considerable altitude and the weather is also fine during this time of the year. Secondly, Livigno is easily accessible to get the riders, the staff and the equipment on-site. A training camp in the Sierra Nevada for example means a transfer of around 2,000 kilometres, which isn’t really convenient to move all of the equipment.”

Training and sleeping in the high mountains also effects the training method. How is such a training camp structured?

Mario Aerts: “During the first week, the riders need to adapt to the altitude. In the beginning, their heartbeat in the morning is higher compared to when they are training at home. As long as the pulse rate doesn’t return to the normal level, the riders can’t train to the fullest. Actually, the training intensity is built up progressively.”

“The riders complete most of the training at the same time, but obviously the climbers are faster on the ascents. Apart from that, everybody kind of follows the same program, but there will always be a difference in speed between the sprinters and the climbers.”

Besides improving the shape, Mario Aerts notices another important effect of the training camp.

Mario Aerts: “It’s not only about getting fitter; the training camp also functions as a kind of teambuilding. The riders are constantly together and get to know each other a little better because during the races, there’s often little time for that.”

Most of the Lotto Soudal riders will head home on Sunday 22 July. Victor Campenaerts stays a little longer in Italy and will travel directly to the European Championships in Glasgow, where he hopes to prolong his European time trial title. The race takes place on Wednesday 8 August.


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