A professional cycling team in times of Corona

|Simplon Riders

Find out how Team Lotto Kern-Haus manages to keep team spirit high during this challenging time and what goals they have set for themselves. Read more!

"It's difficult to motivate the riders over and over again when you don't have a clear goal in mind."
-Teamchef Florian Monreal-

A professional cycling team in times of Corona

Interview with team manager Florian Monreal of Team Lotto Kern-Haus

 

The Corona pandemic has also shaken up the cycling world quite a bit. Shortened schedules, postponed races, little training time together: How does Team Lotto Kern-Haus still manage to keep team spirit high, and what goals have the athletes set for themselves? Team manager Florian Monreal told us.

Goals and competitions 2021

 

What are the team’s goals for the upcoming season? 

We want to pit ourselves against the development teams this season. We have several new U23 national riders, and we want to compete in a few junior races such as Paris-Roubaix or Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Of course, it’s also our goal to win the national cycling league in Germany for the 7th time in a row – that race is always very important to us.  

Which competitions do you have on the agenda?

We will start the season with the GP Rhodes and the Tour of Rhodes. Due to the Corona pandemic, the competition has been postponed to the beginning of April. So far, the Tour has always been a success for us. Last year we finished 2nd in overall rankings, coming within an inch of winning.  

Where do you see the strengths of your team at the moment? Where are its weaknesses? 

oOur strengths are clearly in classic-like races, in flat and in undulating terrain. In the mountains we are not quite as strong – but with Alexander Tarlton, we have one of the strongest, if not the strongest mountain rider from Germany in the U23 league. 
 

Preparation and training in Team Lotto Kern-Haus

 

How is the team preparing for the next competition?

We will have a ten-day training camp with the team in March. Currently, the boys are training at home or have gone on a private training camp.  

What does the training look like in times of Covid-19?

The riders can train as they usually would, wherever they live. They can also use the weight rooms in Olympic centres and thus keep up with their training for the upcoming season. No restrictions have been imposed on the riders, and they can train outside on the road as they normally would. Since they are professional athletes, they are officially allowed to do so.

Do they train as a team, or does everyone train individually?

In most cases, the riders live too far apart, so they cannot train together. Some of our riders build Zwift sessions into their training routine – for a change and so they can compete against each another to see where they are at.   
 

"... team spirit is a very important aspect of becoming successful."
-Teamchef Florian Monreal-

Team spirit in times of Corona

 

How do you keep in touch with each other in times of social distancing?

We have weekly Zoom meetings, either with the whole team or in smaller groups. That’s where we do tactics sessions and hold seminars, which are very important for the development of the riders.

How do you manage to keep team spirit high in times like these? Are there any team-building activities you do together?

It's really difficult at the moment, but team spirit is a very important aspect of becoming successful.  That's why we try to bridge this phase with Zoom meetings – and once we go to the training camp, we’ll have to really focus on that again.   
 

Effects of the current situation

Can you already assess what impact the current situation might have on performance?

Performance will not be directly affected because the start of the season was now postponed by one month, and the riders can do some targeted training during this time. With a late training camp, we can do very intense sessions and prepare perfectly for the start in Rhodes. 

How is the current uncertain situation dealt with in road cycling in general or within the team?

It is difficult to motivate the riders over and over again when you don't have a clear goal in mind. We already saw this last year. And we hope that the organisers of the races will be able to come up with thought-out hygiene concepts based on the experiences from the previous year and that we will have a relatively normal racing season starting in April.  
 

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