Exceptional performances are the order of the day in top-class sports, but exceptional situations such as the 2020 Corona year set new standards even for world-class professionals. For the BORA - hansgrohe cycling professionals this means that all classics such as Tour de France, Giro d'Italia or Vuelta de España will only be held in autumn. In order to train again as a team after months, trying to maintain both stamina and motivation in solo mode, the top UCI team held its season opener in the Ötztal partner region. A group of more than sixty people, comprising athletes, trainers and assistants, took full advantage of the excellent training conditions in Tirol's longest side valley. "I am really happy to finally cycle with my teammates again in the outdoors. During the forced break I spent a lot of time with my son," triple world champion Peter Sagan looks back on the past months. The Slovak-born enthused his fans all over the globe with a video from Sölden, showing a wheelie on the racing bike. The clip on social media reached 1.5 million views within a few days.
High-altitude training in Ötztal for Sagan & co to prepare for Tour de France, Giro and Vuelta
Train where others go on vacation
For two and a half weeks the professional cyclists from Germany's top team BORA - hansgrohe visited several regions in Ötztal. After the long break due to Corona, the professional cyclists around Peter Sagan, Rafal Majka and Emanuel Buchmann were fairly happy to finally get back on the saddle together with the entire team. In addition to stamina challenges such as Sölden's Glacier Road with an average gradient of 10.5% on a stretch of 13.5 kilometers, joint activities were not neglected. The varied program included outdoor action at AREA 47 or a visit to the 007 ELEMENTS James Bond Adventure World.
As is usual also in other sports, an internal team Corona protocol was developed, which ensured safe conditions and consisted - among other things - of dividing the cyclists into different groups. "I'm really happy that everything went so well. The conditions were just perfect, our concept has proven its worth and the intended training workload was implemented excellently. The most important thing, however, is how much the athletes enjoyed to train together again and under almost normal circumstances," sums up Ralph Denk, team manager of BORA - hansgrohe, after the successful training period in Ötztal. Germany's professional cyclist Emanuel Buchmann, who already caused a sensation at the end of May with his extraordinary charity campaign - an "Everest Challenge" in Ötztal - took the same line. "This camp was a really important step in preparing for the coming season. We have trained a lot, improving also quality aspects. The big races can come," Buchmann looks forward to the great cycling classics. Endurance training coach Dan Lorang, who also has Olympic champion and triathlete Jan Frodeno among his athletes, is equally positive: "We were able to do our training very well. The foundation for a return to the season has now been laid."
Sporty Summit Meeting
In addition to intensive training units, there were other experiences and activities off Ötztal's racing bike routes on the varied program. The BORA - hansgrohe team experienced a real "secret agent feeling" when visiting the 007 ELEMENTS James Bond Adventure World at the summit of 3048 m tall Gaislachkogl in Sölden. Aiming high also was the motto at AREA 47, only on different terrain. A walk through the high ropes course at a height of 27 meters was a true step out of the personal comfort zone even for the cycling professionals. Skier meets star on two wheels. This is how the spontaneous meeting of Germany's Alpine figurehead and Kitzbühel winner Thomas Dreßen with Peter Sagan can be described. The same applies to the joint excursion of the Slovak superstar with the young up-and-coming local athlete Laura Stigger on the trails of the BIKE REPUBLIC SÖLDEN. Sagan also knew how to cut a fine figure on the downhill bike and when jumping. For Oliver Schwarz, managing director of Ötztal Tourismus, the BORA - hansgrohe training camp is an important impulse: "Our excellent infrastructure and hospitality form the elementary basis. I'm also particularly pleased that the team has trusted in us in such sensitive times. We have created the framework conditions for the team so that all athletes could enjoy safe training conditions in Ötztal."