Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling begin their 2021 campaign with a training camp this weekend in Northumberland, the first full team get-together since February 2020, when we also were able to join them over in Calpe for a few days.
The camp gave the opportunity for new riders, Cameron Jeffers, Matt Gibson and James Shaw to meet up with the rest of the team and run through simulations amongst other team activities.
The team have been granted Elite athlete dispensation enabling them to train and race providing appropriate testing protocols are in place. This is a reflection of the importance placed upon the return to domestic sporting competition by both British Cycling and the DCMS.
The team has always followed both the letter and spirit of relevant COVID regulations and as such have not participated in foreign training camps or group training activities. However with an approach of competition it is now important for the riders to train together and again have the opportunity to practise group riding skills, bike changes, race radios and all the other innumerable details that distinguish a bike race from a bike ride.
The team have worked closely with one of the other partners, Medichecks, to implement a COVID-secure environment for both riders and staff. The team was staying at an isolated, self-catered accommodation location in rural Northumberland, with riders and staff operating as one ‘bubble’. Rides were conducted without refreshment stops and without public interaction.
Before joining the ‘bubble’, each rider and staff member has undergone a PCR test provided by our partners Medichecks in the last 5 days. Upon arrival each individual will undergo a further Antigen test before being allowed to enter the accommodation and any potential relaxation of social distancing. This will ensure that all members of the team have tested negative twice before entering a bubble, minimising risk to others.
The team will then compete domestically through April before beginning their European campaign in Holland at the Ronde Van Overijssel and Tour of Estonia in May.
We can't wait to see the guys in action once again! Good luck for the season!
Photos by Dean Reeve