Where Do Professional Athletes Travel to Train Over The Winter?
At the start of each season, professional cycling and triathlon teams from around the world, as well as many individual athletes travel to warmer climates for training camps, where the athletes are in optimal conditions to concentrate solely on improving fitness and preparing for the coming race season.
We spoke to a number of our ambassadors and partnered teams to find out where they travel to with their bikes, why they go there and what they get up to when on training camp. Hopefully some inspiration to help you decide where you’ll book your next training camp.
The Canary Islands prove a popular destination for athletes and teams, given the warm climates year round, relatively quiet roads to ride, and varied terrain to train on. Of the islands, Lanzarote is probably the most adapted to triathletes, and as such this is the go-to destination for the BMC Vifit Sport Pro Triathon Team, staying for two weeks each January with all staff and riders together in preparation for the season.
“For the 6th season in a row we are heading to the Sands Beach resort in Lanzarote for our winter team training camp,” explains Team Manager, Bob De Wolf. “The Sands Beach resort offers everything we can wish for as a team. A 25m outdoor swimming pool, great gym facilities, excellent food, spacious apartments and fantastic on side support.
“Lanzarote offers some of the most scenic and challenging bike routes, beautiful running trails and guaranteed good weather that time of the year. Lanzarote is also host to one of the most iconic Ironman races on the calendar and provides an inspirational setting to train as a team.”
Professional triathlete and SCICON ambassador Michelle Vesterby also frequents Lanzarote for her training camps, residing at Club La Santa – a venue adapted to cater for the needs of all disciplines of athletes. “At Club La Santa I know exactly what to expect,” she says. “I don’t have to think about anything else but my training and recovery. Club La Santa makes the life as a pro triathlete easy: eat, train, sleep, and repeat.”
Traveling by plane, with her custom pink Scicon AeroComfort Triathlon TSA Bike Travel bag, Michelle usually spends 2-3 weeks at a time on the island, usually joining other athletes at La Santa. From there on it’s all focus on training and recovery, with 2-3 sessions a day, rest between and eating well to fuel the body and recover.
There’s still some time to take in what the location has to offer though. “To enjoy the most beautiful view of the island, head to Mirador del Rio, preferably by bike. To experience one of Lanzarote’s longest and most iconic climbs, go do the Tabayesco climb. To enjoy Lanzarote’s best cortado and cake, go visit Jonnie Bakes in Teguise.”
Heading to Lanzarote from all over Europe, traveling with their fleet of custom team Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 bags, the BMC Vifit team recommends a visit to Timanfaya National Park, one of the most unique places on earth with its immense lava fields. The team also suggest seeing Cuevo de los Verdes – one of the longest volcanic tunnels in the world, as well as heading to the beaches of Costa Teguise or Playa Blanca, or taking in the popular Sunday morning market in Teguise.
“The athletes will all follow their own individual training plan as they will all have individual objectives in the season. Some athletes will be predominately focusing on base training where others will be preparing for the first race of the season at the end of January. So the training is fairly individual, but the athletes will find each other and swim, bike and run in small groups depending on the sessions they need to do.”
Switching to the Balearic Islands, Mallorca is a prime location for cyclists all year round, and is the training camp location of choice for WorldTour team, BORA-hansgrohe, heading there in December and January. With the riders flying over to the island’s international airport from around the world, the team usually stays for 10-14 days.
“There’s perfect infrastructure for us and the Mallorca Challenge is also in January, one of our first races,” the team explains. “It’s a very popular location among the riders and coaches – you can ride both flat and mountains, so your training can be well balanced. I recommend riding some of the climbs in the area around Calvia and Puigpunjent, the coastal road from Antrax to Soller, and the Climb up to Randa.”
With different groups of riders preparing for various objectives, riders split to train on both climbs and the flats. Coaches prepare daily training schedules, while sports directors think about the best routes for training – “every evening the training and route for the next day is presented to the riders in a meeting after dinner.”
As well as staying in Mallorca, the BMC Vifit Sport Pro Triathlon Team also heads to Mallorca in April for its second camp of the season.
New training locations continue to emerge as teams look for more varied and specialist areas to train. Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team has made Hvar, Croatia, its base, holding its main pre-season camp there for 2 weeks in December.
“We decided on Hvar because our hosts the Turist Board Hvar and Split and Sunčani Hvar Hotel who look after us very well. Hvar is a touristic cycling destination and our riders have all the facilities they need. There’s also lots of other things to take in such as the local cuisines, siteseeing activities and more,” explained Mateja Kos, Team Public Relations Manager.
Like all the WorldTour teams on training camps, the Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team splits into dedicated groups to prepare for different objectives, taking in long base level rides, to more intense efforts for those starting their racing season sooner.
“We plan our routes 2-3 months in advance, taking in certain climbs or working on loops and tactics.”
As well as the warm lcoations for early season training camps, teams and riders also choose to head to high altitude at different points of the season to hone their form ahead specific targets. BORA-hansgrohe favours the perfect training conditions in Osttirol, Austria, which the team labels its official training destination.
Other locations include Tenerife, Sierra Nevada, in southern Spain, Colombia or even South Africa.
Wherever it is that you choose to head for your next training camp, make sure that you and your bike travel in the most comfortable way possible, much like the professionals, with Scicon Bags. Find out more about the AeroComfort 3.0 range, and find the bag that suits your discipline.
The number 1 ranked UCI MTB team, BMC MTB Racing Team differs from the road riders in that their seasons fall at different times of the year and so their training camps come at different points of the season. The team’s World Cup campaign gets underway on 10th March in Stellenbosch, South Africa, with the World Championships taking place in Switzerland in September. MTB teams such as the BMC outfit can opt for locations around southern Europe, or further afield to train in the mountains and prepare specifically for upcoming racing objectives on courses most suited to those that will be raced upon.
Scicon Bags is a proud partner of the teams and athletes mentioned, suppling all with a range of customized technical bags to suit their travel needs, including the Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 TSA bike travel bags across Road, Triathlon and MTB, as well as the Scicon Race Rain Bags.SHOP NOW