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UCI WCC cyclo-cross camp finishes with Sunday’s EKZ CrossTour Aigle

Cyclo-cross camp at UCI WCC
Cyclo-cross camp at UCI WCC

The race course for Sunday’s EKZ CrossTour Aigle will hold no secrets for the 22 young athletes currently on a training camp at the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC).

Held annually, the cyclo-cross camp moves date in 2017 to the week leading up to the third round of the EK CrossTour, a race which sees riders cover a circuit around the centre’s grounds in Aigle, Switzerland.

Technique has been the focus of this week’s training camp, with the riders absorbing information and advice from Rudy De Bie who during his 15 years as Belgium’s national coach saw his athletes bring home 19 titles of UCI World Champion.

The coach, who is now in charge of the youth movement for Cycling Vlaanderen, has been shouldered at the WCC training camp by Switzerland’s Arnaud Grand, two-time U23 Swiss Champion and fourth U23 rider at the 2010 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships.

Cyclo-cross camp at UCI WCC

Despite his many years as a coach, De Bie’s enthusiasm is unwavering and has rubbed off on the athletes, most of them Juniors, who proved unstoppable during the morning technical sessions: “The training loop in the forest has everything for cyclo-cross,” said De Bie. “It’s a perfect playground with jumps, little hills and lots of bends. They are not only learning from me. They learn from each other. This isn’t training for them, it’s pleasure. If we had taken a picnic with us they would have stayed through until the afternoon.

The athletes have also tested the sand section in the UCI WCC grounds, and on Saturday will familiarise themselves with the rest of Sunday’s race course. The afternoons have been devoted to endurance rides on the road, and De Bie has also covered certain aspects of the UCI Regulations with them.

“But we do it all outside, not in the classroom,” says the coach.

UCI WCC High Performance Manager Belinda Tarling said the annual camp was particularly useful for athletes coming from countries without a strong tradition in cyclo-cross: “Cyclo-cross is an incredibly technical discipline, and everything they can learn from the coaches this week will be of enormous help to them in their cyclo-cross careers.”

Cyclo-cross camp at UCI WCC

On Sunday, some of the athletes will be out to earn UCI points while others will simply be adding to their race experience. Whatever their aim, De Brie will be behind them.

“I will advise them all to have fun. And I will be there supporting. It’s going to be a busy day.”

The athletes on this year’s camp come from Argentina, the Czech Republic, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Sweden.