Team Giant-Alpecin Ronde Van Vlaanderen Recon Ride

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

I had the privilege of tagging along with Team Giant-Alpecin on their final race-recce training ride on the Thursday before the 2016 Ronde Van Vlaanderen, courtesy of the team’s proud new co-sponsors, Renson. I spent four hours in the team car with coach Marc Reef and mechanic Ed Bekhuis as they completed the last 100km with the squad. The full account is published here on the Always Riding website- check it out for some more great pics and further insight.

Photo Credits AP Sports Photo & Pieter Van Hoorebeke

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

“Sure, John is the guy for these races and we do not have a second John Degenkolb, so we have to go into the races in a different way- we have to aim for the break, getting guys up there.We’ve been there so far but not made the final selection yet…”

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

“…But, this is definitely an opportunity for the other guys to take the chances and show themselves!”

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

EdThis session is all about imprinting the race route on their memories, knowing where the climbs and cobbled sections lie and also, more crucially in Marc’s view, the nature of the run in to these race defining features: Position is critical in the kilometres leading up to these iconic stretches on such narrow and twisting rural roads. It is this knowledge the squad are out to capture, to become as familiar as possible with the tight, narrow lanes, critical turns and pinch-points…

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

“The race will start on our second time up the Oude Kwaremont- you have Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg in quick succession- this will be key and the splits will come”219A1608“…You need to be up in the front group then or you are going to struggle to come back…This type of race is very honest when it comes to the final selection – brutally honest – it’s the absolute strongest guys who make it and only them. ”

IMGL0577The ride is as well drilled and disciplined as you would expect from one of the world’s top squads. A steady pace is maintained throughout, the riders clipping comfortably along at an easy looking 40kph over most terrain. There will be only a couple more rides of around an hour and a half on the two remaining days leading up to the race, an easy turning over of the legs. Easy rides, massages, food for fuel and rest is the order of the day before the maelstrom descends upon sleepy Flanders…

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

“We chose red helmets this year- to make the guys look more like a bottle of Alpecin Caffiene Shampoo!! That’s true!”

Cycling: Team Giant Alpecin Flanders recce

“It’s very special: It’s made special by these people here, at the roadside. Their passion and love for the race. That atmosphere is very special!”

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Pieter at Renson has also popped this nice little video, filmed at their HQ & out on the road with the guys, in which John Degenkolb and Roy Curvers talk about the road back. Looking forward to John’s promised “…great comeback!” – check it out:

 

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