New Beginnings


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The first win. For a sprinter such as Dylan Groenewegen especially, it’s good to get it early. Kicking away from the chaos of the peloton at 70-plus-km/hr requires an enormous amount of confidence, and nothing breeds confidence better than a win. On the fifth and final stage of the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, Groenewegen’s Team Jumbo-Visma teammates set him up perfectly. They had ridden very well together all week, dictating the pace at the front of the peloton. Tony Martin had finished on the podium in the opening time trial, his first in his new AGU speedsuit. Together, they brought him to the final kilometre, where he avoided a crash, waited and waited, and then showed the world that he is one of the fastest men in the sport, sprinting past an elite group to take Team Jumbo-Visma’s first 2019 win. Many more are to come.  



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?✅? yeahhh , thnx boys!?

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Winter Training

During the winter, Team Jumbo-Visma’s riders do have the opportunity to mix up their training. Although professional cyclists possess extraordinary levels of aerobic and anaerobic fitness, riding a bike involves a very specific set of movements that put great strain on certain muscles and very little on others. During the racing season, there is little time for the riders to focus on anything other than pedalling. As their legs become stronger, their upper bodies and abdominal muscles waste away, often leading to imbalances that can cause injuries and harm their performances. Primoz Roglic does a lot of cross-country skiing. Few sports are so aerobically demanding or require such full-body strength. And he can do it outside in the fresh air. In his home country of Slovenia, it’s often impossible to train outdoors on his bike. Five to six hour days inside on the rollers would be so mentally draining that he would be cracked before the first important races in spring. Who knows–perhaps, the former ski-jumper will go for a gold medal in the nordic combined once his cycling career is finished. He hopes to win a grand tour first.  



Tour Down Under

All of a sudden, the pressure is on. The margin for error shrinks. Sure, there is time to cuddle koalas and show off the team’s new jersey and bikes. It is still January. Nevertheless, the Tour Down Under is a World Tour event. The Aussies and New Zealanders are close to peak fitness. It’s the middle of summer in the southern hemisphere, and they have just raced their national championships. For their home fans, the race is one of the biggest events of the year. For northerners, it can be very difficult to adjust to the pace. The constant barrage of accelerations they face when racing just can’t be replicated in training. The fact that temperatures can hover above 40°C make it even more difficult for those who are coming from winter. There are new teams in the bunch, new teammates to get used to. It takes some time to find the best way to communicate and cooperate. Team Jumbo-Visma got off to a flying start.  




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Training Camp

At team camp, the riders have their first real chance to test their fitness. After months of training at home, often with only their powermeters for company, they come together with their teammates in the southern Spanish sun to accumulate many hard kilometres. There are meetings with sponsors and media too. Camp might be the only occasion all year in which all of the riders and staff are in one place.. Out on the road, there is a spirit of healthy competition. Anyone who had a few too many beers and big meals over the holidays is forced to face the facts. There is nowhere to hide. The fear of watching their teammates ride away from them on a climb is a very good motivator. Back at the hotel, the team’s performance staff is ready to put them through a battery of tests that will expose every one of their weaknesses. Still, no one wants to be a ‘January star’, a rider who shines at team camp, but is already dwindling by the start of the first races and burnt out before the classics and grand tours.  





Back To Work

The first real training kilometres are the hardest kilometres. Just a few weeks before, the riders’ bodies were finely tuned racing machines—any excess weight stripped away, their hearts and lungs and legs accustomed to making extreme efforts on a daily basis. Their reintroduction to normal life during the off-season came as a shock. Mornings spent indoors, being able to eat what they want, not having to worry about travel plans for their next race—it threw them out of their rhythm. The extreme caloric efficiency they have developed over years of training meant that they quickly turned any excess calories into fat. Their muscles became stiffer and bulkier without daily drilling. And the offseason lasted just long enough for them to get used to it. But soon, the first races of the season appeared on the horizon again. Their first training plans appeared in their inboxes. Empty days were suddenly filled with gym sessions and intervals and long, slow training rides. At first, their bodies rebelled against the discipline. They felt heavy and awkward on their bikes. Every pedal stroke was an effort. It was tempting to put off training for another day, and another day. It would take weeks of work to feel like bike racers again. Successful seasons are built in the winter.  




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Off Season

Team Jumbo-Visma’s riders can rack up more than 90 days of racing in a season. Every time they take to a start, they know they will have to push their bodies to the very limit. By the time November rolls around, they are exhausted. The mere thought of riding their bikes can be daunting. Most take a few weeks off to rest and recover and spend time with their friends and families. Taco van der Hoorn took off on a solo road trip across Europe in his 1982 Volkswagen camper. First to the hills of Flanders, and then on to Roubaix, before heading south to the Cote d’Azur and San Remo and back up through Tuscany to ride the Strade Bianche, the 24-year-old Dutchman scouted the finales of professional cycling’s most important classics. Eating and sleeping in his van, showering in local sports centres, cycling for fun—that’s Taco’s kind of vacation. He will be better off for it this spring.  


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No words needed. #slaapplek #vanlife

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