Quickstep’s Sprint training in Val di Fassa

Sprinter Fabio Jakobsen of Deceuninck – Quick-Step talks of his preparations at the team’s get-together in Italy and the first races of August

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Quickstep’s Sprint training in Val di Fassa

Photo ©Wout Beel

It’s been a week since Deceuninck – Quick-Step riders and staff members travelled to Val di Fassa, in the Italian Dolomites, for our altitude training camp in preparation of the next part of the altered 2020 season. The mountainous terrain offers ideal training grounds for those who love undulating roads, but meanwhile, also the team’s sprinters and lead-outs have been put to work.

“Riding uphill helps building the general physical condition of the non-climbers too. We have to make sure that they are ready and fit for the first races so that’s what we are doing here. These nice Dolomites climbs are not only ideal training ground for the climbers, but the sprinters get their advantages as well. Aside from the regular, longer training rides, the sprinters are offered specific training sessions to improve their explosiveness and top speed, like motor-pacing or 30-second intervals. You can’t have an altitude training camp without mountains”, explained team trainer Koen Pelgrim.

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“But again, it’s good for our sprinters too to let them ride uphill now and build up their general physical condition. They will benefit from this in the coming months. When they get back home after the training camp, they will get a more sprint specific training program for those last couple of days before the races. And, of course, it will be vital to recover well after these two and a half weeks in Val di Fassa.”

One of those sprinters is Dutch Champion Fabio Jakobsen. The 23-year-old showed his great form early in the season, with stage wins in the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana and the Volta ao Algarve and an emphatic victory in the GP Jean-Pierre Monseré, the team’s last one-day race before the enforced corona break.

“I am glad to be able to say that I’ve already won a couple of races”, he said. “I’m happy with how I was doing; it reassures me to have those victories. I’m now looking forward to showing something in my first upcoming races, the Heistse Pijl and the Tour de Pologne. It’s been a while, but I’m still the same guy who I was in March so it can’t all be gone. We’re four months later, but I have the same goals for the postponed races.”

Val di Fassa is a climber’s paradise, but the altitude training camp offers a good opportunity to the sprinters and classics riders to improve their physical condition which they build up in the past few months. “It’s definitely good for our physical condition”, continued Jakobsen. “I mostly join the others for my training rides, that is the group with the sprinters, lead-outs and classics riders. Sometimes we simulate sprints or we do some specific sprint training sessions and strength exercises in the gym. We’ve also done some motor-pacing on the flat roads in the valley, but at the end of the day we had to get back to the hotel, an 11km climb. Of course, there’s a lot of uphill riding involved in these weeks, with some really tough climbs for me, but it’s excellent for our general physical condition.”

“I will focus even more on my sprint training when I get home”, Fabio added. “Getting stronger in general and building up physical condition is the idea of this training camp. The conditions are excellent, both the weather and the views. A summer training camp with the entire team is something we’ll probably never experience again. It’s nice in a way and I enjoy it. Of course, the corona outbreak is a terrible and sad thing, but I try to focus on the advantages. There was never a complete lockdown in the Netherlands, so I could train outside and visit my family. That was nice, because in a normal season I never get to spend so much time with them.”

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