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Heading Down Under

It is one month to the day since the end of the Team Astana training camp in Tenerife, Spain. Suffice to say I've been super-busy. For everyone involved in professional cycling December is the time of year to retreat to family life, hide from the media for a while, and get back to basics. Eva, Victoria and I were hosting a party of 15 for Christmas (which is a lot for our modest house in Madrid!) and all the joys and challenges of the holiday season were our priority. Now we are a week into 2009, but the training camp at Tenerife was so successful it deserves a look back.

This camp was the only chance for the entire Astana team to get together before the start of the season. All told we have 27 riders, including Lance, Popovych, Levi, Contador, Haimar Zubeldia and all the new Kazakhs. Everyone has a unique program of racing and training so by the time we get to our second training camp after the Tour Down Under in January, we will already have a few guys with other commitments. After that, well, it's the full-on season and the whole team won't come together until next fall. So Tenerife was an opportunity for team bonding, as well as important discussions of strategy, team anti-doping protocol, press relations, and, um...surfing.

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