Get-together, medical tests, hiking and cycling: the first contact with the 2022 junior team

The Sercotel Princesa de Éboli in Pinto, Madrid, was the venue for the first pre-season training camp of the junior team of the Alberto Contador Foundation. The components of the tenth project of the Foundation in the category lived together for three intense days in which they developed different activities, group dynamics, medical examinations and, of course, some first group pedalling.

Between Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, the Premiummadrid facilities in the Madrid town of Pozuelo de Alarcón hosted the medical and physical tests that all the riders undergo. The incremental test, the cardiac ultrasound and other tests allowed us to check the state of health of the youngsters. “What we are doing this year is fundamental for us, especially as we have not been able to organise the selection camp like in other years. There is a great disparity of cyclists among the new faces and, on the one hand, we need to get to know them better; but above all, the basis of this camp is to form a group. We want the riders to get to know each other, to get to know each other and share experiences. Hence the walk, the bike ride today… Another important point, and I think it is a differentiating factor of this project within this category, is the medical tests. This is an aspect on which we place a lot of emphasis, above all and fundamentally for the boys themselves and their health”, says Félix García Casas, general manager of the Foundation’s teams.

After lunch, the expedition travelled to the valley of La Barranca, in the vicinity of Navacerrada, to tackle and enjoy a magnificent hiking route. A circular route of about 15 kilometres with the Alto de las Guarramillas, the popular Bola del Mundo, as its summit. A route that climbed up to the 2,257 metres of altitude of this mountain on whose summit stands out a telecommunications installation presided over by some unmistakable antennas.

On Sunday morning it was the turn of the bicycle route. For this occasion Guillermo Gutiérrez and Félix García Casas designed a proposal of 105 kilometres through the region of Las Vegas, passing through San Martín de la Vega, Ciempozuelos, Aranjuez, Colmenar de Oreja, Chinchón, Morata de Tajuña and again San Martín to return to Pinto. The climbs of Molino de la Aldehuela and La Nueva, among others, marked out this route for many riders who were totally unfamiliar with it. Two riders from the Plaza Éboli Cycling Academy, Fabián and Sergio, were also part of the group for several kilometres.

“It’s been a very cool experience, we’ve all had a great time together. There is a considerable level here”, says Pedro García, one of the new faces of the 2022 project. “I agree with my brother, the experience has been nice, we have built a strong union and now we have to see how the season will go”, adds Héctor, Pedro’s brother. For Joan Cadenas: “We have a good team, there’s a lot of camaraderie, we’ve had a great time. I think it’s going to be a great year and we have to enjoy it a lot. In general, I liked the whole training camp a lot, I wouldn’t highlight anything in particular. It’s true that I suffered a bit on the walk, but I also had a great time. Like today on the bike, which we enjoyed a lot”. Bálint Feldhoffer, one of the three Hungarian riders: “This stage has been a great experience, we have done great training and everything has been great. Gergo helped us a lot with the integration. I had a great time on the hiking route, a beautiful hike through some spectacular places. In Hungary we don’t have mountains as high as these.

The route was the first time the riders were able to ride the team’s AURUM Magma bikes. “They go very well, the bikes are very reactive,” says David. “I was surprised. A fast and comfortable bike, at the same time, I have to say that I was surprised,” said Cadenas.

The Catalan Joel Díaz, the Riojan Lucas Guillermo, the Cantabrian David Puente and the Hungarian Gergo Magyar make up, in what will be their second year as juniors, the veteran base of the team that will again be directed by the Cantabrian Guillermo Gutiérrez. Looking ahead to 2022, the Murcian Pedro García (Giménez Ganga) and César Pérez (Valverde Team) and the Catalans Nil Aguilera (UC Vilanova), Joan Cadena (UC Vilanova) and Álex García (CC Sant Boi) will join the team as second year juniors. Four riders are promoted from the cadet category: Héctor García (Giménez Ganga; Pedro’s brother), Alem Herráiz (UC San Sebastián de los Reyes), Iván Polo (Logos Energía) and Manuel Sanroma (Gimenez Ganga), not forgetting the Hungarian riders Balázs Lászloó Pollner and Bálint Feldhoffer.