Unique photo shoot of Roman Kreuziger
In depth body treatments is an almost daily routine for the Tinkoff-Saxo riders and absolutely essential for performing at full power. But the highly trained work of therapists such as Tinkoff-Saxo’s Kristoffer Glavind Kjær is rarely shown publicly. The peaceful treatment is simply one of the only times during a WorldTour rider’s day, where he’s able to completely relax and turn off his sharpened senses and tense muscles. See all the photos
But the door to room number 129 in the team’s hotel for the Ardennes Classics campaign was opened to allow a closer look into this sanctuary during Roman Kreuziger’s treatment ahead of Fleche Wallone and Liége-Bastogne-Liége.
At the very top level of cycling, margins determine success or failure. A tight tendon in the groin can affect the power in the major leg muscles – power that is needed for closing a gap on the Mur de Huy or creating THE gap on the final climb to the finish line in Liége. Kristoffer Glavind Kjær is a fundamental part of Tinkoff-Saxo and this evening he’s loosening up Roman’s ability to breath unhindered and transport oxygen down to the legs consequently removing lactic acid from the legs.
“My job is about making sure that the body functions at prime level with a healthy core. You can compare Roman to a Formula 1 car. His body is at the very top of human performance but it’s also very sensitive. Crashes, minor injuries or many hours of transportation – it all affects his peak performance. I can feel it on his tendons and muscles, if he has been traveling. And that disturbs his performance”, explains Kristoffer.
With his thumb he places a firm pressure into the connective tissue in Roman’s groin. The Czech captain for the Ardennes campaign exhales slowly to gradually make room for Kristoffer to go deeper into the deep tissue.
“This is very important to me and for how I perform in the races. I can lie down on the table, rest for a while and stand up again much more relaxed and comfortable. But I always get my treatment two days before a race”, says Roman in a relaxed tempo with his eyes closed. “The treatment drains a bit of my energy and the body needs to recover afterwards. But two days after I feel that I move much more easily with more powerful”
Keeping the energy
Kristoffer has been with Tinkoff-Saxo since 2001. He tells that when he entered the team he wanted to loosen up the riders as much as possible. But this perspective has changed during the years working with top athletes.
“The rider’s bodies are under so much pressure – their tissue and tendons are always tight and firm. But I found out that it actually made them less fast if I loosened them up completely”, says Kristoffer as he bends and twist Roman’s million dollar legs before he continuous explaining.
“Actually the riders need to be a bit tight. It’s a balancing act and I really have to know the riders and their individual physique. Roman needs me to go deeper on his left side because he develops more tenseness in his left groin area, which could affect oxygen transportation to his leg”
Kristoffer looks at Roman to make sure that the pressure of his hands on the diaphragm isn’t causing discomfort. He treats all riders on the team and has felt the difference between them.
“For instance, I’m always at the races with Alberto. He’s very unique in the sense that he’s an extremely fine tuned engine just like Roman. But Alberto needs to be tense. He is actually self-regulating. He’s so used to the high stress on his body that he almost don’t produce lactic acid. I just need to optimize his core function during the races. But I never go really deep. He has build up so much energy inside his body and I don’t want to release that”, concludes Kristoffer as Roman lies in a state of tranquility and full bodily alertness ready to let go of the energy as soon as he’s on the bike.