Bikes are packed away, wheels are hung up and the buzz and organised chaos of the competitive professional cycling calendar finishes for another year in the month of October.
While behind the scenes within teams there is plenty of work ongoing for the following season, this is the period of the year where the riders get to experience the infamous “off-season”, after which they slowly begin their return to training.
In combination with the newly published rider diary, where we heard of multiple fun holidays, sun-chasing and plenty of activities, we also wanted to find out from our experts what the next steps are after the fun and sun. Therefore, we caught up with Trainer Coordinator Steve Benton who shared his knowledge and insight into what exactly goes on around off-season planning and how the riders return to training.
When is off-season?
Ironically given its name of “season”, there is no concrete and set time period where all riders in the peloton stop racing and training, before picking it back up again. As Steve explains, there are a few main factors which decide on this time.
“The first thing we consider and look at is the last race of the rider, and when that is. Obviously, it differs not only between our three programs (Men, Women and Development), but also within the programs itself. For example, this year we had riders who raced in Lombardia as their last race while others continued their campaign into China.”
Alongside the ending period of their previous season, the start point of their next campaign also is a factor too.
“If a rider starts their season at the Australian races, then we tend to, where possible, accelerate that training. We will be on a slightly faster build-up with those riders to allow them to be ready to travel to Australia but also to be in the right condition to be competitive there.”
Likewise, if a rider starts their next campaign a little bit later, they might even continue training for a week or so after their last race to then be able to take their off-season and build-up after from there.
So to sum-up, off-season comes at a variety of times and is dependent on when racing has stopped and when it is planned to start again for a rider. Now that is out of the way, let’s dive into what actually is off-season!