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A host of Australia's pro cyclists commemorated Anzac Day (April 25) with a visit to the Cycling Australia High Performance Base in Castronno, Italy for a traditional Aussie barbecue and cricket match ahead of intensive biomechanics and physiotherapy sessions.
World, Olympic and Commonwealth champions including Michael Rogers (T-Mobile), Stuart O'Grady (CSC), Graeme Brown (Rabobank), Mathew Hayman (Rabobank), Allan Davis (Liberty Seguros), Aaron Kemps (Liberty Seguros), Brett Lancaster (Panaria), Natalie Bates (AA Drink), Kate Bates (Nrnberger) and Gene Bates (LPR) gathered, some with their partners and children, for a social catch-up and to christen the new High Performance HQ.
"It's really good not only to get yourself back into shape in a physio sense but it's to catch up with the boys," said dual Olympic champion Brown. "We all have a beer and a BBQ and as Australians that's what it's about."
The pro riders also put in some road training with the current members of the Australia U23 programme and caught up with the women cyclists in Italy on AIS scholarships. "I imparted some words of wisdom to Lloydy (Matthew Lloyd) going up the climbs he was taking us up yesterday," laughed Brown, who attended with his wife, Hayley, a former rider with the programme.
"It's good for them and for us as far as morale. It's the part of the season where everything is starting to happen and putting aside the biomechanics and physio it's just a good place to be with a group of Aussies."
Brown took the opportunity to have a session with Brian McLean, Cycling Australia's biomechanist. "It's about the one per cent that can make all the difference."
O'Grady, whose young son Seth was one of the star ball boys for the cricket match, was one pro who needed more extensive support on this visit from McLean. "Stuey got a new bike and new shoes this year with his CSC team so we had to recalculate his bike setup based on the new equipment," said McLean. "He's ridden in what is his optimum position for the past 10 years so we had to work to get him back to that position."
Hayman said the Australian programme is held in high esteem in professional cycling and credits National Performance Director, Shayne Bannan, for his work to set up the system for Australian riders. "In the early days Shayne did all the jobs from mechanic to manager and to see this base now with such quality accommodation and support in place is great," said Hayman. "It's getting results with many guys turning pro out of the programme and lots of pro teams are interested in the guys who come through here. All credit to him, the programme and those on board who have made this such a good team effort."
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