Saturday, July 24, 2021
HomeDiariesSaunier Duval Team Launch 2008 - Day 1

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 – Day 1

-

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 and the squad has changed a little from last season – the team is made up of 26 riders, and one of its distinctive features will be it’s youth: there will be no less than nine men under 24 years of age, and thus the team will be the second youngest in the ProTour peloton. The second distinctive feature of the team this season will be improved training: two personal trainers have been hired: Sergio Gelati, who worked with the team in 2007, and José Antonio de Paz, a Professor at the Sport & Physical Activity School of the prestigious University of Leon.

VeloVeritas travelled to Granada in Andalucia to meet the team and get behind the scenes.

Both my breasts ROTTED AWAY” screams the headline in the ‘Chat’ magazine the woman next to me is reading on the plane.  Cycling journalists have it tough. The worst we can say is; “Rasmussen sent home” or “Russell in trouble with cycling authorities, again.

Anyway, ¡Hola! from Granada.

It’s Saunier Duval training camp time again. Last year we were down on the coast at Estepona with David Millar, Iban Mayo and Gilberto Simoni; this year we’re high up in Granada. Two of the three mentioned above have ‘moved on up,’ whilst old Iban is in “guilty or innocent limbo”. Riccardo Riccò is the star attraction and Leonardo Piepoli probably has mountain stage win or two left in him.

Saunier Duval Team Launch
A famous icon: the Veterano bull.

The drive up from Malaga was uneventful, I said ‘hello’ to the Veterano bull and headed inland.

My eyes, used to the eternal grey gloom of a Kirkcaldy winter, had to be protected by shades; the sun just seemed so bright.

Granada sits high-up, the dual carriageway twists and climbs out of Malaga before settling into a rolling rhythm through the hills, neat rows of olive trees stretch as far as the eye can see and the car computer said 14 degrees, a tad warmer than back in wind blown and semi-submerged Scotia.

I stopped at services on the outskirts of Granada, grabbed a café con leche, bought a map and within 15 minutes, I was at the hotel M. A. Nazaries.

As five star hotels with central atriums and roof-top Jacuzzis go, it’s nothing special. Mrs. McGlumpher’s B & B at Girvan this April just won’t be like this, I know it.

Saunier Duval Team Launch
The team trucks are mighty impressive.

Saunier are here in full effect – both the team trucks are here, and a wheen of cars but not the bus.

The first face I recognised was Riccardo Riccò’s, hes had a great season, top and tailed by being ‘in at the kill’ at San Remo and Lombardy. As with so many riders, off the bike he doesn’t merit a second glance – that was one thing about Cipollini, he had an aura and it was obvious he was special.

Saunier Duval Team Launch
Ed noticed Ricardo, interviewed him, but didn’t warm to the man. Just something about him…

Riccardo just merges-in to the background; he’s not anonymous on the bike though and his attacking style will win him plenty of fans.

Roberto the mechanic remembered me from last year and has the pictures I emailed him last year stashed in his ruck sack.

The bikes are still Scotts, but with a new colour scheme and a ‘fly-thru’ seat tube – as first used by Carlton in the early 70’s. I must launch an extensive reenge thru the archive and find pictures of that.

Saunier Duval Team Launch
Scott Addict (hmm, shame about the name) with lovely SRAM Red Gruppo.

The groupset is the new SRAM ‘Red’ – it looks very striking. I was impressed with the “double tap” shifters on the ‘Force’ groupset last year at Estepona, but I heard murmers that they weren’t as positive as some of the riders would like.

I’m hoping to spend time with the Scott and SRAM technical guys who are here and bug them them lots of anorak-type questions. I also hope to talk to Mauro Gianetti about loosing Millar, the Mayo affair and his goals for the squad for 2008.

We hope you like the pics, there’ll be more over the next three days as we try and give you a look behind the scenes of a top ProTour team.

As we say in Dysart; via con Dios!

Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 45 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, team manager, and sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach, and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 4

I didn't sleep too clever last night at the Saunier Duval camp. I think the café con leche I had just before the presentation had enough caffeine in it to keep even Gianni Bugno happy. The team and personnel all headed off today (Sunday): Virginie and Pascal back to Switzerland; Denis Flahaut rides the Tour Down Under; whilst Leonardo Piepoli goes to Argentina.

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 2

¡Hola! When Matxin, the DS at Saunier says; "six hours today", that's what he means. In fact it was six-and-a-quarter hours after we left the hotel when we returned to Granada. The day is up Pez here, but once again it showed what's involved in being a pro and also what it means to be a top pro. Saunier Duval.

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 3

Saturday, and it's official Saunier Duval launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another: the full delivery of kit hasn't arrived from Castelli yet. On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of "Prodir" logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor. So, it's not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.

At Random

Christina Murray – the ‘End-to-End Record’ is the ‘Logical Progression’

Christina Murray, a lieutenant colonel in the British Army, goes for the Land's End to John o’ Groats record tomorrow, Sunday 13th September. We found out more about the attempt on the eve of the adventure.

Bert Roesems – Wants a Win!

It's the 2007 Three Days of De Panne, stage one, hilly, windy and there are men dying out there. But at the front a powerful figure attacks constantly into the wind which scythes in off the North Sea-and he doesn't quit his huge 'digs' until the race defining break has formed around him.

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 – Day 1

The Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 squad changed a little from last season - the team is made up of 26 riders, and one of its distinctive features will be it's youth: there will be no less than nine men under 24 years of age, and thus the team will be the second youngest in the ProTour peloton. The second distinctive feature of the team this season will be improved training: two personal trainers have been hired: Sergio Gelati, who worked with the team in 2007.

Craig Maclean – Trackside at the Worlds

Martin: "Here! Ed! Shouldn't we be doing a piece about the World Track Champs?" Ed: "They've never been the same since Daniel Morelon retired and Hughie Porter had that crash, then they ditched the big motors and..." Martin: "Hold on - go and speak to Craig Maclean!" Ed: "Aye, right, he'll know a bit, being an ex-world champ and all..."

Berlin Six Days 2016 – Photo WrapUp

This year saw edition 105 of the Six Days of Berlin, VeloVeritas had the good fortune to be there helping soigneur Kris look after Messrs. Germain Burton (GB), Daniel Holloway (USA), Mathias Krigbaum (Denmark) and Mark Stewart (Scotland). Here’s a selection of images from under the largest unsupported steel roof in Europe on the site of what used to be the Berlin STASI Headquarters.

Jack Bauer – Aiming for the Commonwealth Games

Tour Doon Hame final stage winner, Endura's New Zealand National Elite Road Champion, Jack Bauer took time, just a few hours after his win, to tell VeloVeritas how it was done.