Fresh Brew: ABQ Camp - Day 2
- by Chris Brewer

Jan 25, 2008 - Welcome to partly sunny / not-too-cold ABQ as Day Two of camp gets going. When the riders headed out this morning for a 3 1/2 hour "easy ride, slightly hilly" it was 38F/3C with a high of 49F/9C by ride's end, and so they all broke out their new winter gear to stay warm in the initial part of the work out. Some of the guys already wanted little more warmth (you need that when you're running 6% and below body fat!) as Goose and Jani headed to he local Trek store for another base layer under their kits.

Following yesterday's first ride together there was unanimous praise not only for how their Trek bikes worked, but for how sharp they looked as well. The guys also really appreciated having a large group to ride with as most of them have been training - in warmer climates - either solo or with one or two friends. While they'll stay in a big group for a while they'll soon break out into separate packs as some guys ramp up for the early season while others are riding more to build their fitness.

For the 2007 Astana riders it was time for a mini reunion, while for American riders Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner it was literally a time of introduction to many of their new teammates. Levi's already sporting his new USPro Champion jersey and will have his matching shorts in plenty of time to defend his Tour of California championship.

*** Tis the season for coughs and colds. Andreas Kloden had been in bed with the flu and a 102F fever but is feeling better today. Now it's Dmitriy Muravyev and Michel Schar with a case of the coughs, but thanks to team and local docs they are expected to be fine soon.

*** Speaking of Schar, what do you see different about his Trek Madone below?! Is it possibly the HUGE seat post that Trek had to custom make and support? Those Sean Yates fans out there will recognize this set up as well. I guess when your 6'5" / 1.96m Time Trial champ and like to be down low, that's what you get!

The boys have been able to enjoy relative anonymity here in ABQ. The local press has been doing some interviews but as for the fans coming out? Not so much. Here's a heads up for the locals, you can look for the Astana blue at the Embassy Suites Albuquerque. it's not often you get the Tour de France and US champion in your yard for two weeks.

Since we're talking about Alberto Contador, he is amazing. He has not changed his pure gentleman demeanor one bit since the first time I met him in Solvang a year ago. He's been enjoying that the southern American media here is generally conversant in Spanish and he can speak for himself rather than through an interpreter. Talk about a guy who has not let TdF success go to his head, he's just generally glad to be here and very happy to be reunited with his constant riding companion Benjamin Noval. Add in the other Spanish and Portugese riders and staff and Astana has its own "Spanish Armada" the pro peloton will have to contend with soon.


Alberto getting ready to ride

Like I said earlier the boys were out for a few hours on the bike, but the appreciative local authorities have had a few surprises for them along the way. As they rolled out they got a very supportive police escort leaving town (so much that DS Allain Gallopin had to tell them that it really was OK to let cars pass them on the left!) and then on the route a street sweeper had been dispatched to make sure the roads were clean - thanks very much, Albuquerque! After the ride the guys will have the chance to get a massage and take a nap as they still adapt to the time difference, and then after dinner it will be time to get some official photos taken for team media needs.

- All is well in ABQ - thanks for checking in, and of course more soon! - Cb.

* You can write to Chris Brewer any time at chrisbrewer62@gmail.com

PS - don't forget the team presentation, Jan 31 5:30pm at the National Hispanic Cultural Center box office located at 1701 4th Street SW - details at www.itsatrip.org/astana!


Eki and Allain let the guys know where they're headed for the day