By Kurt Hoy
Alberto Contador’s most notable teammate was not in Calpe, Spain, for the opening day of the team’s training camp, but Alexander Vinokourov was expected to arrive later and complete the camp, team officials said.
Contador and 18 of his teammates kicked off the twelve-day camp when they rolled out of the four-star AR Diamante Hotel at 10:30 Thursday morning.
Outfitted in their team kits and sitting atop 2010 Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL3 bicycles, the team — minus Vinokourov and the seven riders who are on the Tour Down Under squad — rode out of town and into the rural countryside west of Calpe.
Riders talked among themselves and rode at a “soft” pace. Gusts of wind sometimes blasted the mini peloton, but two climbs, and 130 kilometers (81 miles) later, the group completed a loop that landed them back in town.
Known for its warm weather and relatively dry climate, Calpe is fast becoming an early-season cycling hot spot. At one point during the ride, team Astana and team QuickStep passed each other while going different directions. Also in town is Team Garmin–Transitions.
What’s on the schedule for Friday? Astana team liaison Simone Toccafondi said that the team, including Vinokourov, will add intensity and kilometers; they’re planning to ride for five hours.