Due to the largesse of a number of people, take a bow Andy Pirie of Gatorade UK, Jon Cannings of Wiggle and the team’s very own Ottilie Quince, I managed to secure a trip to Majorca on 18/19 of December to spend a little time at the Team Sky training camp in Alcudia which included going on a training rider with them. I know… unbelievable isn’t it? In fact, it was interesting to compare and contrast the messages from our Twitter and Facebook mates – Ott’s generally got the whole ‘go girl, nobody deserves it more’ refrain while mine were better characterised by the phrase ‘how did you wangle that you jammy bastard?’
Dinner was prepared for us, the staff and riders by Soren Kristiansen better known on Twitter as @Teamskychef. He cooks exclusively for the team, it’s lean, clean, beautifully done and all the tables come adorned with Sky Pro Cycling Olive Oil. Well, they would, wouldn’t they?
In the lobby getting ready for the ride we were blessed by a quick chat with Andy Tennant before we bumped in to another one of my cycling heroes, Bernie Eisel. Otts seemed to go all misty eyed for some reason and leapt over the table to sit next to a smiling Bernie for a photograph. I told her about his history with Mark Cavendish, his tactical mastery on roads, his performances in the Classics but for somebody who is normally a keen student of her sport she’d gone a bit, well, dreamy. I think Bernie had got another fan…
When they realised we weren’t going to kill them, a few of the riders dropped back for a chat, Ben Swift and Luke Rowe in particular. I think it’s fair to say young Mr Rowe is now familiar with a number of alternative uses for lip balm after his conversation with Ottilie. It’s probably information he didn’t really need, but he got it all the same.
A shower, lunch provided by Soren and a whole host of ‘thank yous’ preceded our trip back to the airport for the flight home that evening. We were superbly looked after by the whole Sky team and we were honoured and privileged to be allowed such access. Never ever once were we made to feel like we were intruding on one of the highest performing teams in sport during their preparation for what will be another amazing year.
The list of people we need to thank for this is longer than the side effects leaflet in a box of Tacrolimus but somewhere near the top must be:
· Andy Pirie of Gatorade UK and Jon Cannings of Wiggle for making this happen.
· The riders and staff of the Sky team but in particular Kelly and Ollie for looking after us.
· Nico Portal, David Lopez and David Fernadez for the support during the ride.
· Rod Ellingworth for creating so many world champions, for the motorbike support on the day and for being Rod Ellingworth.
· Bernie for the push…
Can we do it all again please?