The first training camp of Team MTN-Qhubeka p/b Samsung 2015 season reached its conclusion today after the final medical examinations were conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier this morning.
The riders and staff were generously welcomed to the magnificent Spier Wine Farm in Stellenbosch on the 23rd of November as they would play host to Africa’s Pro-Continental team for the next 8 days.
A full schedule of team bonding events, meetings and presentations kept all staff and riders busy while it was also great that the Spier hotel was teaming with various different media personal daily. Some of the things that populated the camp schedule were the new product sponsorship presentations which had everyone licking their lips. We can honestly say that MTN-Qhubeka could not ask for better partners heading into the 2015 season. The customary rider and management meetings also took place where racing calendars were set for the year to come.
On Thursday evening Qhubeka hosted our 2015 team presentation in the form of a gala dinner where our 2015 team kit was unveiled. There was an auction of our 2014 Vuelta a Espana special edition race kit and numbers which saw R54 000 getting donated to Qhubeka. The team were also shown first hand what impact Qhubeka is having in the local community of Blikkiesdorp. New team recruit Stephen Cummings was particularly touched, “Today was a real eye opener for me, and I kind of left the informal settlement with a bit of sad feeling inside me. We really do take a lot for granted and today’s field trip really put things into perspective for me as to how important the work Qhubeka does really is.”
Daily rides of between 2 and half and 5 hours around the beautiful Western Cape allowed for the riders to get used to some of their new equipment while some less conventional training sessions like Bikram Yoga, Pilates and Eye Gym assessments were also included. Matt Goss, the teams new Australian signing was impressed, “Something that has really stuck out for me at this camp is the level at which the team operate with regard to sports performance, they are easily one of the most advanced teams in world cycling. It has made me really excited to work with the coaches and performance team in the coming year.”
It was not an all “by the book” training camp though as riders, staff and team partners were all able to enjoy a Pub Quiz, Wine making & tasting, Oakely Dinner and a traditional South African night out on the town during the course of the week. All of these activities allowed for a real special bond to be formed between all riders. South African champ, Louis Meintjes said this was the best camp the team has ever had, “There really is such a great group of people here, the new riders, staff and partners together with the existing team members have just made this week incredible. I cant really put my finger on it but there was just something special about this week.” The week slowly winded down on Saturday with the local fans joining the team on a fun open 60km ride where they were able to pick the brains of their cycling hero’s. Riders and staff will all head home now over the Christmas period before meeting up in early January for the next training camp in Mallorca.