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Lotto-Belisol training camp

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Some impressions of the Lotto-Belisol training camp in the Spanish Mojacar.

The temperature is rising up to 20 degrees, the sun is shining - which is mostly the case in this area - and the swimming pool is tempting, but cycling is still priority number one in Mojacar. Former pro Serge Baguet uses hotel Oasis Tropical as a base for his Cycling Events. For a few days, he is taking the sponsors that are present out to the hinterland. The riders of Lotto Belisol are preparing for season 2013 with the reassuring knowledge that they have a WorldTour licence.

Lotto-Belisol had a calm off-season with only the arrival of Dirk Bellemakers - Tim Wellens already became pro at the first of July - and the departure of Sohrabi and Meersman. Frederique Robert, who was at the end of his contract, signed for one more season. All riders besides Bellemakers were part of the team last season, so there was no introduction needed.

Every day the riders are divided in  three training groups, depending on their start of the season or their personal profile. Each day there is an evaluation so we can make adjustments if necessary. The flat course along the coast or the almost car-free hilly roads in the hinterland are ideal for a training of three to five hours.

Sports director Herman Frison: "You see that all the riders and staff are excited to start the new season. When a season is over you are glad to be able to rest for a few weeks, but this is still the thing you love to do. A team training camp is one of the only occasions almost everyone is together, because mid January, everyone is spreading over the different races and some people I only get to see again in September. The riders already had a good basic condition when they arrived here. As a sports director you can immediately notice if someone didn't prepare well. This preparation is needed because the season is now starting a lot earlier, with the races in Argentina, Australia and Gabon."

"For me the official kickoff is the Tour Down Under. After the early races and the classics, the Tour follows. We are already preparing for it. We don't know all the details yet, but all trainings and explorations of the stages in Corsica, the Alps and the Pyrenees are planned. This is important for Jurgen Van den Broeck: a good schedule gives serenity. Of course I am also looking forward to the 100th edition! Jurgen on the podium in Paris, that would be the icing on the cake in a 100th Tour de France (big smile). But we are only at the beginning of a preparation that will take several months."