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It’s Friday the 10th of February and the clock has struck 18:00. After an intense week at Allebike Factory, the weekend-vibe is starting to kick in and parts of the staff have changed into their bicycle-commuter clothes and says ’’thank you for this week, see you on Monday!’’ At the door, they are met by the first cyclists from Motala AIF Serneke Allebike, who will spend the weekend in Alingsås with team building, training and education for the coming season.
The background of the team is primarily to develop its own cyclists but also to be a part of developing Swedish cycling in general. With support from Allebike and Serneke, among others, Lars Wahlqvist and Mats Harring (who have run the team in the last couple of years) feel ready to take on Europe by storm.
Peter Vincent, CEO of Vincents Alingsås, which owns the Allebike brand, says:
”For us, it is just the right time to tackle the national and international bicycle market on the road side as well, with that said, supporting MAIF and their venture feels like the right way to go. It also goes hand in hand with our mountainbike investment and Team Serneke Allebike.’’
This week, as mentioned, the whole team with their 11 cyclists and staff visited us in Alingsås for a training camp and kick-off. They also got the chance to review this year’s material and to attend an education class from Shimano and their new 12-speed Dura-Ace group which will be mounted on their Allebike Industrie bikes this year.
We start the weekend with a cappuccino in our Factory Café, because everyone knows that’s the proper way to kick-off a training camp. They are all welcomed by media and communications manager Jessica Elina, and CEO Peter. Several coffee cups are emptied before all cyclists and staff are gathered but once we’re all together we get a tour of the warehouse and production hall by Peter, followed by a photoshoot with Jessica.
It’s now time for Mats to start with tonights dinner and I get the chance to sit down with Richard Larsén, Edvin Lovidius and Linus Kvist to exchange a few words about the upcoming race premiere!
The team will start their season in Croatia with two one-day competitions in UCI category 1.2, Trofej Umag and Trofej Porec, which then ends with a stage race in the same category, Istrian Spring Trophy. Followed by another stage race, this time in the Netherlands – Olympia’s Tour.
I’m curious about their winter training and Linus, who road last season in a Danish team and got his international breakthrough when he won the first stage of the Baltic Chain Tour, tells me that he has had one of the best winters so far in terms of training.
During the last couple of years he has had some problems with injury during the winter training period, but as for this year he has been able to train throughout the whole period exactly as he wanted. It was only a broken rib that he got at the U23 World Champs at the end of last season that affected the training in October and November. During these months he had already planned for a rest period though, which meant that Linus had no reason to feel any stress about the rib fracture. His own theory as to why he stayed injury-free this year is the amount of gym and crossfit he added to the basic training.
’’It has not only given me a stronger body, but also helped with the training motivation during the whole winter. I think that it is good to add some alternative forms of exercise sometimes, it makes you even more hungry once you get on the bike again, ’’ Linus says.
Edvin tells me that he has taken a step in the right direction this winter. He has kept himself both injury- and disease-free, which is absolutely crucial in order to maintain continuity.
’’I spent two weeks in Gran Canaria in the beginning of December and it really kicked off the winter training. It would have been nice to have a couple of more weeks abroad, but it has worked out good to train in Sweden during the winter as well,’’ Edvin says. He is very excited to see what the new capacity level he gained during the last months will do on the races.
Last but not least I want to hear Richards thoughts. For season 2022 he decided to change his training compared to the previous years, due to the fact that he will combine mountainbike racing with Team Serneke Allebike and road racing with Motala AIF Serneke Allebike.
He says that in order to keep focused and go hard on the trails he needs to be relatively alert. He has therefore chosen to reduce the training hours on a general level and instead focus on high intensity and quality and add specific periods containing more hours.
’’When riding in the forest you can’t afford to be too tired because then you won’t manage with all the sudden increases in power and technical steps required,’’ Richard says. The new strategy however, has already proven to be a winning concept also in roadracing as he has gotten an even stronger sprint than before.
“Even after a long and hard race as a the Swedish nationals, I managed to win the silver-medal in a very strong breakout with many professionals in the group. I do think that when you have enough routine and years of training, you dare to reduce the training hours and focus more on quality but still maintain endurance.’’
They also point out the importance of this type of training camps.
’’In the terms of training it matters less, you can get the hours by yourself. But the teambuilding part is very important for us to be able to work as a group during races. You need to know each other in the peloton as well,’’ Richard says.
Linus adds that it is important to ensure that everyone is heading towards the same goal, in the same direction. ’’Due to Covid, this type of ’’get togethers’’ has been planned quite late this year, and because of the last two seasons with less competitions it has been a while since we all raced together or against each other. We’ve got to get to know each other again.’’
Edvin tells me that the first competitions in Croatia will offer a very strong international field which makes it impossible to go there unprepared as a group. He also claims the importance of the more experienced riders in the group who can give some pats on the back when someone does something extra good, but also dares to give constructive criticism when something can be done better.
’’What should be valued the most is the amount of top results we get as a team. Sometimes you ”ride for” someone else, but then you have to remember that if you do that really well, it will be soon be you who gets the chance to win a race. This is a team sport.”
We end the conversation by reflecting over how important an investment like this is for Swedish cycling in general. Cycling as a sport is growing and they all believe that young cyclists all across the country needs something to aim for. As a Swede, it is tough to join an international team in an often quite rough environment. Now the opportunity is given to ride international competitions in a Swedish context with support from the team and its partners. They all think that is helpful for you to feel confident and to develop as a cyclist.
With that said – time for dinner. Tomorrow morning 5 hours of cycling is waiting for the group.
We wish Motala AIF Serneke Allebike good luck on their venture and we will continue to follow them during the season.
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Text and photo: Jessica Blomqvist ( jessicaelinas @ Instagram ) and Richard Larsén