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by Shane Stokes
December 2, 2017
Report: Dumoulin to challenge Froome at Giro d’Italia; Boels-Dolmans Cycling Team extends with sponsors until end of 2020; Passing the fire: Contador, Basso come together at Polartec development team; Come and race the Virtual Tour of Bright with us; 2017 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year awards; Video: Searching for the soul of Belgian cyclo-cross; Video: 2017 UCI Indoor Cycling World Championships – Dornbirn (AUT) / Cycle-ball; Video: Hinterlands | A fixed gear cycling film shot in Dartmoor
A heavy crowd gathered round, with iPhones at the ready to catch the moment. El Pistolero, dressed in a cowboy hat with a gun holstered to his hip, was about to challenge his brother Francisco (Fran) to a quick draw duel. Hands hovered above their guns, the brothers engaged in an intense stare down. As the ready light went off, the Contador brothers drew their guns, snapped back the safety, aimed and shot. It was over in under a second.
We were in Arizona as invited guests of Polartec to participate in the Fundación Alberto Contador team training camp. Riders from both the new-for-2018 Continental and U23 teams, along with the technical staff, joined Contador and Ivan Basso for four days of riding under Tucson’s sunny, warm skies of Tucson. The motto for the week of training was “pasar el fuego,” or “pass the fire.” A series of four routes were planned, totalling 435 kilometers with an elevation gain of 5,000 meters, in which the new 2018 team kits, made completely from Polartec fabrics, could be tested.
As it is still months away from the first race of the season, the training camp was more about bonding time for the team than about any real fitness gains. Morning rides were punctuated with leisure time in the afternoon, where the teenagers took advantage of the local mall, coming home with Vans and Abercrombie, with evenings set to show off the best of Western Americana, including a full blown Arizona Luau, complete with barbecue, s’mores, mechanical bull, lasso station, corn hole, and the aforementioned quick draw duel.
“These training camps offer a chance to see things you might not in other situations,” Basso explained. “You see who does not act in the best way, who comes late, with dirty shoes, or inadequate clothing.”
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