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Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling Belgian Training Camp: Day 3

Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling is in Ghent, Flanders, for the first training camp of the year, with the aim of welcoming the new riders to the black and orange team, and having some fun, along with the serious business of preparing for the season ahead.

Chloe Hosking drills it on the Molenberg; the final climb of Saturday’s race

After the mostly fun events of the camp so far, day three got serious with a team reconnaissance of the course of Saturday’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. Similar weather to yesterday’s ride, along with the far more challenging roads, meant that this was to be the toughest day of the whole camp.

She may be from a long way away in Italy, but Elisa Longo Borghini was born to ride on this stuff

Blue skies over Ghent were cause for optimism as the Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling convoy rolled out of the hotel, en route to the race start at the “Vlaams Wielercentrum Eddy Merckx” on the outskirts of the city. As Directeur Sportif Egon van Kessel led the three Honda Civic Tourer team cars and the team camper van around the first 40km or so of the course though, the rain began to fall.

If there’s a cooler cycling jersey out there than the Belgian Driekler, I certainly haven’t seen it!

Heading south the the “Vlaamse Ardennen” it became clear that the athletes were in for a soaking as thorough as the one they had yesterday! The Kluisberg – or the Mont d’Enclus as it’s called as the riders crossed the border into French speaking Wallonia at the top – augurs the start of a succession of hills and cobbled sections that come thick and fast, in a course that’s in many ways as tough as the Ronde van Vlaanderen itself.

She might be a featherweight mountain climber but Mayuko Hagiwara can mash the cobblestones with the best of them!

Parts of the course appealed to the different characteristics and strengths of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s athletes, with some powering up the short, sharp Belgian climbs, and some powering over the cobblestones. Many of them, of course, could do both. Some of the riders are more experienced than others on this course and others like it but, for two-time Giro d’Italia winner and super-climber, this was to be her very first opportunity to ride the famous Flemish “Kasseien.”

Mara Abbott gets the best possible guide in Belgian Champion Jolien D’hoore for her first ever visit to the Flemish cobbles!
You couldn’t get much more different from the Giro d’Italia, but it takes a lot to wipe the smile off Mara’s face!

Riders were cold and wet when they returned to the hotel, but were soon showered and warm and tucking into a later-than-usual-but-no-less-delicious lunch before enjoying some time for themselves in the afternoon.

Watch out for Anna Christian on all terrains this season!
Eileen Roe and Audrey Cordon-Ragot hit the Paddestraat. Hard.
Amy Roberts floats over the stones.
Giorgia Bronzini wishing she was back in the warmth of the Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines velodrome

The hour before dinner saw Raph Deinhart, Technical and Marketing Coordinator from Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling’s nutrition partner, High5 (who’d joined the team on its ride this morning), talk the athletes and staff through the extensive range of products available; as well as how best to use them in racing, or training situations.

Raph Deinhart from High5 pits himself against the athletes of Wiggle Honda Pro Cycling
Raph takes the riders through the range of High5 Nutrition products and how best to use them

Raph explained the various merits of drinks verses gels, bars and supplements, which products were best for staying hydrated, best for preventing cramps, as well as how to use High5 Nutrition’s range of recovery products.

Chloe Hosking likes the sound of High5’s Zero electrolyte tablets, which can help prevent cramps
Anna Christian certainly does know how to “Race Faster!”

Shortly before dinner was actually served, Mary Killingworth from event event manager BrandNation talked the riders through the plans for tomorrow’s official team presentation. We can hardly wait!

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