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Webcor Training Camp, February 18, 2005
Webcor meets in Menlo Park
Training in the Californian winter sun
Despite the loss of Chris Horner to Saunier Duval for 2005, the Webcor team are as fired up as ever to repeat their year of success from 2004. Ella Lawrence went out to Menlo Park to catch up with the team and find out their inspirations for the season ahead.
The Webcor Builders Cycling Team is composed mostly of working guys with day jobs, in addition to being one of the most promisingly strong domestic teams in 2005. If its 2004 season was any indicator (which it most likely is as the team has many of the same members), Webcor will deliver some solid results again this year. "Starting at Pomona in 2004, riders stepped it up, rode off the front and delivered, which was pretty much how things went all year," one of the team managers, Frank Scioscia, says.
2004 was a dream season for Webcor Builders, which climaxed with a victory at the San Francisco Gran Prix (of which Scioscia was the event director in its inaugural year). "Webcor discovered in 2004 what it really meant to ride like a team," says Scioscia. "Although Horner is gone, there is no trepidation or doubt among the riders as to how they will perform in 2005; they already know how to ride at the front and will continue to do so this year."
Sport scientist Max Testa at UC Davis (former coach of '88 Giro winner Andy Hampsten and one of the head doctors at Motorola and Italian superteam Mapei in the 1990s) is providing the riders with fitness testing and all have training schedules which are individually tailored to suit their needs. Because so many of Webcor's racers are also working guys, not everyone races every weekend. Most racers live in the peninsula, with Santa Rosa being the furthest Californian outpost, and Davis the furthest east.
Who to watch
Although Chris Horner has left Webcor and the domestic racing world to fry bigger fish across the pond, Canadian Charles Dionne (winner of the 2004 San Francisco Grand Prix) is again riding for the team, and enjoyed his first outdoor rides of 2005 in gorgeous sunny peninsula weather. A true French Canadian, Dionne has no plans to defect from Quebec City, even if it is sunnier in California.
New to Webcor in 2005 is David Clinger, a sprinter who raced with Mario Cipollini on Domina Vacanze in 2004. Clinger's arrival at the camp dropped the team into unexpected and unwelcome controversy when it turned out he'd had the upper half of his face tattooed in a design derived from traditional Maori decoration. The team asked Clinger to sign a statement that he hadn't fulfilled his contract obligations and to find out if it was possible to have the tattoos removed (see sidebar).
Webcor has also added some promising young talent to their roster in 2005, including Marc Collard, the current collegiate national road champion. Collard is working toward his Ph.D. in mathematics at U.C. Davis and shows great potential for 2005. Another fresh-out-of-college racer is Lucas Euser, a "little light climber guy," as well as Andy Jacques-Maynes, who has left his evil twin Ben to race alone for Ofoto/Sierra Nevada and will probably be going very fast again this year, thwarting all rumors that he's retired now that he's got a grown-up job as a product-developer at Specialized.
Friday: Out-of-towners Clinger and Dionne arrive at Specialized to pick up their bikes, get fitted out and some product education. They spin around Morgan Hill for a couple of hours to test the bikes.
Saturday: An easy, social ride, get to know each other, hang out. Four hours ride time.
Sunday: Social ride with the Alto Velo/Webcor club team for a few hours, peeling off to head toward Boulder Creek and Big Basin, a solid 5 hours on the bike.
2005 target races
In 2005, Webcor will race a full national calenda, with the highlight of the season being the San Francisco Grand Prix. (Last year 300 Webcor employees, contractors and friends cheered as Dionne soloed to victory.) The team will focus on road races more than criteriums. Webcor will begin with the California swing: Pomona, Redlands, Sea Otter (the team's other favourite race), directly on to the Tour of Georgia. Then Arkansas, Connecticut, Philly week, Cascade Cycling Classic and Altoona as well as the US Pro criterium champs and hopefully, World's!
The bikes and equipment
The 2005 Webcor steed is an all-new Specialized S-works Tarmac, a stylishly-designed, full-carbon frame. The frame is a monocoque: one piece as opposed to several bonded pieces. Because the S-Works Tarmac is a production frame, Webcor's team bikes are exactly the same bikes available to the everyday consumer. Although Specialized does not guarantee riding a Tarmac will make you as fast as David Clinger, or as good-looking as Marc Hagenlocher, it just might help.The bikes weigh in at approximately 15.5 pounds, and the '05 full-carbon Tarmac is a direct descendant of Specialized's long lineage of racing bikes.
The wheelsets are Mavic Ksyrium SLs, long-proven performers of the pro peloton. Webcor will be rolling along with no worries on one of the most successful wheelsets of recent years. The team is running a Specialized finishing-kit as well: the handlebars, stems, and seatposts are all advanced-composite carbon. The groupsets are Shimano Dura-ace (10-speed). The Webcor guys are also sporting Specialized helmets and optics (the preferred fancy term this year for 'sunglasses'), and just when you thought they couldn't think of anything else to make out of carbon, Specialized went and put some in their 2005 helmets. The '05 Decibel boasts carbon sub-frames, which makes them the safest, lightest, and most aerodynamic helmet Specialized offers. In addition to their role as a key factor in the team's being able to say they're outfitted in really cool-looking carbon literally from head-to-toe, the helmet's sub-frame holds together much better in case of a crash.
Andy Jacques-Maynes (USA)
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Ella Lawrence/CN
Images by Webcor