Last week saw me off to Majorca, courtesy of our friends at Rapha, to spend 24 hours in the Team Sky camp. Of course, it was a privilege to see the team up close, and mighty enjoyable to get some miles on a bike in the sun. But what did I find out that you may not know already?
First impression was just how open the team were. I think we have all heard lots of stories about professionalism and the philosophy of marginal gains, but here too was a team that was confident and focused. So much so that they were happy to let us guests come in, sit in their team meeting and join the staff and riders for dinner.
There are some key changes of personnel for 2013. New riders signed for the season keen to establish themselves. Retired riders taking on support roles. Dave (now Sir) Brailsford was in the camp for the first time this year. He spoke to the team about the year ahead. All very straight, very simple. From the big picture to the details, from the chef to the mechanics, it was just damn impressive.
Kitted up with the new Rapha Team Sky kit we headed out with the team the following morning. They were off for 6 hours, ending with some hard efforts on the hill above Formento. The guests spent an hour with them before heading off for a 90k loop. The kit looked fantastic – really good on the pros, and surprisingly good too on us ‘not so pros’!
We got to wear the pro jersey and bib shorts, and on a chilly but sunny morning added arm and leg warmers. The merino wool fabric functions superbly, the attention to detail is outstanding. The combination of Rapha and Team Sky seems obvious, and I keep having to remind myself it’s a new partnership for 2013. I think it helps that Rapha has earned its stripes with the Rapha Condor team over the years; plus there was a strong following for Rapha amongst the Sky riders already.
Back in the UK, with a snow covered commute ahead this evening – those 24 hours with Team Sky are a warm memory of great hospitality and are inspiring me for my cycling year ahead – both on the bike and following the team.
Thank you Team Sky and best wishes for the season ahead.
Evans Cycles will be stocking the full Team Sky clothing range in shops and online. First product will arrive soon, and the full range will be with us by Spring.