The winter training camp is as much a part of the professional cyclist’s itinerary as his race programme.
For many WorldTour teams, the Costa Blanca resort of Calpe, less than an hour from Alicante airport, has been the destination of choice.
Ag2r-La Mondiale, Astana, BMC Racing, FDJ and Katusha all retained a presence in the resort while other branches of their sizeable squads were already in action at the Tour Down Under and the Tour de San Luis.
Vincenzo Nibali returned to Calpe for a second block of training in the penultimate week of January, accompanied by many of the riders whom Astana will send to the Grand Tours, including Fabio Aru, Jakob Fuglsang and Michele Scarponi.
Alexander Vinokourov made a brief visit, but after his past transgressions and the furore surrounding Astana’s WorldTour licence renewal following positive tests for the Iglinsky brothers and llya Davidenok, it will be interesting to see if his public interactions with the team this season are limited to low key events like training camps.
The riders rolled out in the team’s new kit, with Nibali clad in a revised version of the Italian champion’s jersey, with red, green and white bands now wrapped around his torso, where previously the tricolore had been limited to separate panels on his chest and back.
On Friday, Astana and several other teams will depart Calpe, many for the dessert races of Qatar, Dubai and Oman, while others will remain in Spanish territories for the low key Challenge Mallorca. A new season is beginning.