TIPS From Qatar

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Over the past week PRO cyclist Daniel Braunsteins and his Drapac Porsche team have been slugging it out at the Tour of Qatar.  Daniel being the great bloke that he is brought us back some invaluable Cycling TIPS from Qatar and his insights from the pro peloton.  Thanks Daniel.  And great effort out there!  All the Aussies back home were watching the results every day on cyclingnews gunning for you.

If you have any questions on the stuff below feel free to ask them in the comments section and I’ll chase them up to get them answered

It was very motivating to be riding with the big pro’s at the Tour of Qatar and noticing how they went about their business.    We were given a taste of our own medicine in the gutter of Qatar and I can’t wait for it to be blowing a gale next race in Australia.  We’ll be ready!  The first day i snaped my saddle as we turned into the crosswind, second day i punctured just b4 the smack down was laid and the other two days just didn’t go my way.  It was a great learning experience and that’s sometimes the way it goes.

The race was very unique for us Aussie’s as the bunch was very erratic with many mass pile ups – even in the neutral zone!!! This gave a few of our riders including me some really sore broken fingers and wrists which caused some sharp neural pain in our shoulders and neck. Also 2 riders got sore achilles because they never got out of the saddle in the flat conditions. Overall, it was a battle out there like I’ve never seen before.

Here are some pointers that i noticed, most are just reminders of what i already knew but have been clearly demonstrated to me in Qatar.  Usually we’re in the drivers seat but this past week the suffering it was being dished out to us by teams like Quickstep, Columbia, Liquigas, etc.

1. Team mates always ride together in the peloton.  The teams weren’t scattered all over the bunch.  This especially applied coming into crosswinds and bunch sprints.

2. When PRO’s move through the bunch they do it very quickly to minimize their time in the wind and they always pick up their team mates on their way through.  Not an ounce of energy is wasted exposed in the winds.

3. All pro tour riders kit up before they leave the hotel, no matter how far the the transfer is (4hr+) to the start or after the finish.  Everything from their helmets to their shoes so nothing is forgotten and no time is wasted.

3. Most of the pros will take any opportunity to ride home (70km ride back to the hotel after a 145km stage) and many also rode 80km to the start of the final 125km stage.

4. Another thing I noticed is that none of the riders had any decent sized desserts (sweet pastries, rice pudding, cheesecake etc).  On the last day Napolitano asked his swany (soigneur) permission for which dessert he could have.

5. On the diet front they ate a lot of salads and vegies – especially grated carrot. (most of the time i was embarrassed with the food that was on my plate )

6. The riders didn’t use the extra facilities of the Ritz Carlton the days before and during the race.  They stayed in their hotel rooms all day off their feet.  We did not!  [the good ol’ cyclist’s adage… "Don’t walk if you can stand. Don’t stand if you can sit. Don’t sit if you can lay down."]

These are some of the  subtle and not so subtle things I noticed from the Tour of Qatar and will take on board for our next races in Australia and our upcoming campaign in Europe. Thanks for reading.
-Daniel Braunsteins

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