What's Cool In Road Cycling

Höhentraining Säntis – Mathias Frank: “I was able to train very well”

THE PROFESSIONAL: In the past two weeks, five riders from the IAM Cycling team have been using the area around the Säntis Mountain in northeastern Switzerland for their individualized training camp. Mathias Frank spent a total of seven nights sleeping on the Säntis, which is a not-insignificant 2505 meters above sea level. “I was able to put in very good training days, and we had a great team atmosphere at the top of the Säntis,” Frank confirmed. “After the Tour of Romandie and the birth of my second child, I took a few days off. Now I have started my build-up again.” Frank has built in his house a room where he can simulate high altitudes, so he can conduct quasi altitude training camps at home. “Before I came to the Säntis, I had already been sleeping a week in my high altitude room. And now after seven nights on the Säntis, I will continue sleeping in my high altitude room at home, which will total three weeks spending the night at altitude. Though one’s recovery time is a bit longer when at altitude, at Säntis we were able to focus on it and work also on the mental aspects of racing, since we didn’t really have many distractions. My form is probably lacking a little bit, but I am confident that I am ready to race the Tour of Switzerland.”

THE ASSESSMENT: “In spite of the very changeable weather, we have come through the past two weeks in good condition. We never even had to go out in the rain,” IAM Cycling trainer, Marcello Albasini explained. “Only once did the riders have to stay in and train on the rollers on account of the weather around Säntis. The last three days, though, we have had exceptionally good weather, and could engage in some really excellent training rides. The team atmosphere has been very positive. The team spirit, which is already strong, we were able to build upon here at Säntis with interesting things like good-natured card games.”

THE CREW: In addition to having Marcello Albasini, the riders were also joined by mechanic Erju Zhang as well as acupuncturist and massage therapist Mike Iavarone. Though he now lives in Switzerland, Mike Iavarone comes from California and is working his second season as an assistant at IAM Cycling. “We had two interesting weeks here on the Säntis. My work consisted primarily around looking after the welfare of the riders,” Iavarone explained. “So I was not only looking after the food, the shopping and the laundry, but also made sure to keep the atmo light and positive within the team. After all, a good team spirit is very important. That’s doubly important later on when the guys will be on the road together for a long time during the Tour. And then added to all this, I was naturally responsible for the massages, and we also tested a little acupuncture to see how that affects the quality of relaxation for the riders.”

THE PROGRAM: The riders who were training at Säntis are primarily looking to start the Tour of Switzerland and then the Tour de France. These races are the next major goals for the stage race specialist Mathias Frank. Before them, though, he will try to find his race rhythm at the Tour of Luxembourg which takes place from June 1st to the 5th. From there he will go to the Tour of Switzerland which starts on June 11th with a prologue in Baar.

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