The first official ‘all-team’ training camp for ONE PRO Cycling took place in Croatia at the start of March over a two-week period and included no less than four races for the squad to get stuck into and find their racing legs after a hard winter.
We caught up with Team Principal Matt Winston to hear how the team are settling in, find out the latest gossip from behind the scenes and discover what’s next for ONE PRO Cycling.
First and foremost, why did you choose to go to Croatia? And what was your main aim during the training camp?
“When I looked at the calendar at the back end of the year I saw a group of races in Croatia so enquired with the organiser. We were able to arrange to stay in the same hotel for the whole training block, which is a massive help when it comes to logistics and planning. I know the area from my time working with the GB Junior Team and thought it would be a good opportunity to get the whole squad out there to combine hard training with competitive racing.”
How are the new riders settling in? Are there any big personalities in the team?
“The new guys are all settling in really well. Unusually, we have more new riders this season than existing ones so it’s a completely different dynamic. There are definitely a few big personalities in the group, probably the biggest being Chris Latham who joined us late on in the camp but was straight in there cracking jokes from arrival.”
Just curious, but who chooses which riders share a room together? Was anyone pulling their hair out after sharing for two weeks?
“Ha… it’s me that picks the room list, I always think long and hard about the combinations, I made sure new guys were paired up with existing guys… they all swapped round after a week to keep it fresh and get to know more people which was their idea. I was the one probably pulling my hair out with my roommate after 2 weeks. I’ll not mention any names but the snoring was testing!”
Performance Director Steve Benton put the riders through their paces in between races. Were any of the new riders shocked by the tough training regime?
“Steve struck a great balance between some real hard training and making sure we could still get the best out of the guys in the races. It was really difficult as the weather was really bad for the first week but we all managed it well and everyone just cracked on with it. I don’t think anyone was too shocked by it bit they enjoyed it and got stuck in.”
We know this will be a very difficult question to answer but who do you predict as the ‘one to watch’ for the upcoming season?
“I think we have a few to watch this year. We have some really good riders on the team and plenty that are on the brink of “breakthrough” I will leave it at that for now… you will just have to see how we go.”
It’s a new year with fresh kit and equipment. We’re especially interested in the beautiful new Storck bikes! How have the team reacted to them?
“The kit and equipment are absolutely amazing! The Nalini kit is lovely, the MET helmets are great and the Storck bikes are super fast. The team love the bike! They are stiff, light and aero and as a bike rider, what more can you ask for. I think our performances in the first few races have shown just what a machine they are.”
We heard rumours you undertook a huge solo road trip from Croatia back to the UK in less than 48 hours? Is this true?
“We got to the point where we had so much kit in Croatia the staff had to take on some epic journeys to get it all home. Everyone pulled together to get things sorted… Girona looked lovely for the ten minutes I was there.” 😉
Finally, what a great start to the season with three podiums including one stage win and a one day race victory already under your belt, what’s next on the cards for ONE PRO Cycling?
“It feels almost non stop at the moment. We are home for a couple of days now to regroup before we head out to Italy early next week for Coppi e Bartali which is a really nice race against some of the worlds biggest teams. We won’t be going there to ride round though and I feel we can make a real impression on the race. Following that, we have the Tour des Ardennes in France before we get stuck in to the British Calendar starting at the Chorley GP in one months time.”