Every winter, teams from all over the world travel to warmer climates to train for the coming races. For 10 to 14 days, the riders spend every hour of the day with their teammates: they eat together, ride together, and even share hotel rooms. In fact, there are few solitary moments when they aren’t with a teammate. For most teams, this is the only time of the year where the entire team will be together in one place.
After the camp, the squad will be fractioned off into different parts of world. Of the 20 to 30 riders on a team, groups of six to nine riders might be racing in three different countries at one time. There’s a chance that some teammates may never see each other during the racing season, as they’ll have entirely different race schedules — the riders who focus on the early-season one day races may never ride with those building towards the Tour de France. For others, it may also be the only time that they’ll train with their teammates, as each rider will travel to the races from their home base. So, out of necessity, some riders’ closest training partners wind up also being their rivals at the races. Needless to say, there are few team sports where rival athletes will train together between events. (Continue reading.)