Last week, the Austrian national team boarded a plane to Mallorca (ESP) to rack up a lot of kilometers on the racing bike on the Balearic Island. After the athletes at home, and sometimes even in the far north in Finland, used the snow individually until the end of April to train on cross-country skis, before the joint summer preparations started this week.
Stationed in Palma de Mallorca, the Nordic all-rounders rode up to 200 kilometers a day in sunny weather and sometimes really warm temperatures. The former professional cyclist Andreas Traxl-Pintarelli, who knows the island like the back of his hand, served as pacemaker and guide. The unique landscape and roads that are predestined for racing bikes compensated for the effort that the athletes took on. Head coach Christoph Eugen explains why this is particularly important at the beginning of the preparation.
“At this time of year, we always have a conditioning week on the program. With long endurance sessions, we want to lay a solid foundation for training and for a strenuous season. In the last few years, we have always been in South Tyrol and on the upper Adriatic, this year we wanted to bring in a little variety with Mallorca. The weather here is very stable and the laps on the racing bike are a dream. Afterwards there is always time to cool off in the pool and sea. It is very important for the athletes to have a little variety alongside their training. With the exception of the two Styrians Franz-Josef Rehrl (internship with the police) and Martin Fritz, who just got married, we are here with the entire first training group," said Eugen, who is celebrating his 10th anniversary as head coach this year, starting into his eleventh season.
I'm starting the new preparation with a lot of joy, since my self-confidence from last season is great.
"It's my first time in Mallorca and I really like it. There are very cool tracks here in a great environment. The legs are still heavy on the first rides, but that gets better from day to day. April was rather mixed for me as I was often a little battered and sick. Since May I've been training again and I feel really fit. We are currently doing a lot of different things to lay a good foundation, be it hiking, mountain biking or, like here, racing bikes. I'm starting the new preparation with a lot of joy, since my self-confidence from last season is great."
"The days on the bike are quite long, we are currently working on the basics, the pace is very leisurely, therefore the laps are longer. This is important in order to be properly prepared for the upcoming World Championship season. Personally, I have a score to settle with Planica (SLO), after all, I tore my cruciate ligament there at the 2019 Summer Grand Prix. It would be a nice story for me to be successful there at the Championships. Our entire team is working together for this. Mallorca offers perfect conditions for cycling, and afterwards there is usually still time for a dip in the cool water.”
"I love to ride my racing bike and have been to Mallorca several times, since the island is simply great for cycling. As always, I'm going into preparation and won't change much. Even though it's a World Championship season and Planica (SLO) is almost on my doorstep. It only takes me half an hour to drive there and I also train there regularly, so it is almost a home World Championship for me. Until then, however, we still have to work hard and focus fully on training. After the basic block, we start with the jump training at the beginning of June.”