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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, November 27, 2015

Back to news and opinion index page for links to archived stories | Commentary

"Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room." - Christine Todd Whitman

Lotto-Soudal gives riders extensive testing

This summary came from the team:

Cycling demands a lot of the body, therefore every Lotto Soudal rider has to undergo an extensive medical examination. Before the riders left on team building, their bodies were tested thoroughly and checked in the buildings of Adlon in Diepenbeek, Belgium. The riders underwent check-ups of their health and general form. All of this was led by the medical staff of Lotto Soudal, together with the team of Bart Op ‘t Einde, professor at the University Hasselt and coordinator of the sport medical advice center Adlon.

Before sunrise, the first riders gathered in Diepenbeek. The centre where the tests were held, is the testing-, advice- and support centre Adlon. During the screening day, eight tests were scheduled. The riders underwent a movement screening, a lung function test, body scan, nutrition analysis, power measurement, clinical examination, heart analysis and a bicycle fitness test. The accent of these tests lay on health rather than performance. The double goal of the screening day is to get a proper view of the health of the riders and their condition at the moment. The screening was led by the medical team of Lotto Soudal; it consists of three doctors, a paramedic, three physiotherapists-osteopaths, a mental coach and ten soigneurs.


A lot goes into supporting a top pro team like Lotto-Soudal

The tests:

Physio- and movement screening: This test consists of two parts; on the one hand they look if there is a difference between the stability of both legs and on the other hand they test the general stability of the rider. During this test, the riders need to do some jumps and core stability exercises.

Lung function test: With this test, the lung capacity of the riders is measured. They need to put on a mouth mask and do several breathing exercises. After this test, the riders and staff get a better view of the oxygen intake and the capacity of the tested rider.

Body scan: Thanks to the dexa scan, they can analyse the body composition. If the scan is finished, they get a complete view of the bone density, fat percentage and fat free mass of the whole body. The fat percentage of a cyclist is around six to ten per cent. A normal healthy person has an average of twenty percent.

Clinical survey: During the clinical survey, they take a blood sample. From this sample, they can determine the amount of haematocrit in the blood; that’s an indicator to measure the fatigue of a cyclist.

Heart analysis: Not only the legs, also the heart of a cyclist needs to be in top shape. During an echo, they check the heart rhythm on irregularity, both during rest and small effort.

Fitness test: As usual during a medical screening, the riders need to undergo a bicycle fitness test. This test takes place on a roller that systematically increases the amount of resistance. The riders start at 100 Watt and most of them finish around 450 Watt. In comparison with a similar lactate test, they put the accent on testing the heart muscle during maximal effort. The lactate tests are held on different days.

Nutrition analysis: Next to the physical aspect, an athlete needs to pay attention to his food intake. During the screening day, the eat and nutrition pattern of the riders gets magnified. For example, the riders are asked what they eat on a rest day, how much they eat, who does the groceries, etc.

Power measurement: Last but not least we have the power measurements. This test measures the amount of power that the legs can produce; separate and with both legs simultaneously. It’s important that both legs are in balance and that they produce the same amount of power. The quadriceps and hamstring are the most important leg muscles for a cyclist, these are tested extensively during a power measurement. If the balance between both legs isn’t equal, then it could lead to injuries.

After these tests, the medical and sportive staff of Lotto Soudal get an extensive overview of the general form and condition of the riders. These medical screenings are essential to work preventively against possible injuries. After the efforts, all 26 riders left on team building.

Team LottoNL-Jumbo and Dutch Royal Army start a collaboration

LottoNL-Jumbo sent me this report:

Team LottoNL-Jumbo cycling and the Dutch Royal Army have come to an agreement today to share their knowledge and experience. To start the collaboration, the Dutch Royal Army’s ‘Red Berets’ are organizing a teambuilding for all riders and staff of the Dutch World Tour formation, between Wednesday the 25th and Friday the 27th of November.

Athletes and soldiers need to possess stamina, physical power, mental tenability and leadership to perform optimally. Team LottoNL-Jumbo and the Dutch Royal Army continue where others stop. They are only able to defeat their opponents through continual innovation and development. The upcoming period, the team and the Airmobile Brigade will share their knowledge with each other in the fields of training, nutrition and coaching.


Team LottoNL-Jumbo

Managing Director Richard Plugge is proud of the collaboration with the Dutch Royal Army. “We have a lot of respect for the raw reality in which the army needs to operate. We realize that sports, obviously, is a completely different dimension. However, we will be useful for each other. We can learn from one other, we both possess extensive knowledge about physical and mental tenability in extreme conditions. The past days we have started our collaboration. The entire team is present in Schaarsbergen, the Netherlands, for our teambuilding days at the Airmobile Brigade. These days, we will work on our TEAM values with the red berets: Together, Excellence, Accessible and Motivation. Each day throughout the year we work on the development of the team. We do so by making sure all individual members reach their full potential via training, innovation and coaching. This is something that corresponds closely to the army, where physical and mental fitness in combination with leadership are the decisive factors for the success of a group as well.”

General Mart de Kruif: To be able to innovate faster, the Dutch Royal Army is starting more collaborations with other parties, such as with the business world, educations and now with top sports. The commandant of the Dutch Royal Army also sees the benefits. “In order to win, Team LottoNL-Jumbo and the Army both have to make sure their people reach their full potential. Both are top sports! We can learn from each other and become stronger. This way, we will also make the Netherlands stronger. Athletes are also an example to society. If they perform well, sports is boosted in society. We all benefit from that.” 

Lampre-Merida re-signs Chun Kai Feng

Lampre-Merida sent me this news:

Only one cyclist in Lampre-Merida's's roster is preparing the participation in a race, that is the Asian rider Chun Kai Feng, who'll take part this weekend (28-29 November) in the Taiwanese championships.

Feng will try to defend the Taiwanese title also relying on the positive motivations which are given by the renewal of the contract for 2016 with Team Lampre-Merida. The Asian rider will be a member of the blue-fuchsia-green roster in the next season too.

In 2015, the twenty-seven year old athlete was a recordman for Asian cycling, being the first Taiwanese rider to race in the World Tour and to participate in the Paris-Roubaix.

The importance of the performances of Feng in Asia could be better understood considering that his participation in the cobblestone classic was reported in the front page of the newspaper United Daily, which is sold in 1.650.000 copies, confirming that Feng is a true sport star in Asia.

Chun Kai Feng

Chun Kai Feng at the Tre Valli Varese in 2015

The sport directors and the team mates appreciated the constant support given by Feng during the races and his commitment in achieving the target which were assigned to him, both in help of the captain and in trying to join the breakaways.

"I'm very happy for the renewal of the contract, my first goal for the 2015 was to obtain the sport confidence from my team mates, from the sport directors and from the sponsors, I think I achieve my goal - Feng said - I trained hard every day, I tried to learn as much as possible from my team mates and from the sport directors in order to fill the gap with the World Tour level: it was great to work with such good friends and colleagues, so it's something so good to have the opportunity to go on in my improving course in 2016".

Team manager Brent Copeland explained that: "Feng always gave his best for achieving the target given to him from the team. During the season, we received feedback about his cycling qualities which confirmed his good level of skills, that's why we think that, by increasing his experience in the World Tour world, he'll be able to realize even better performances and be even more important for the team.The expectation in Asia about Feng are very high, he's a cycling icon, but he manages well this popularity and the pressure".  

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