The majestic setting of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park was once again the chosen setting for the first concentration of the staff that will make up the Kometa-Xstra in 2020. The Albergue Valle de los Abedules in the town of Bustarviejo in Madrid was once again the operative centre of the three days, between Friday and Sunday, in which this second pre-season meeting took place. The first, more protocolary, had taken place in mid-October in the facilities of the Hotel Princesa de Éboli de Pinto.

A team of thirteen cyclists, with eight new faces, feed what will be the eighth project in the category of the Alberto Contador Foundation. The team is made up of Pedro Beneit from Alicante, Francesc Bennassar from the Balearic Islands, David Quevedo from Cantabria, Alejandro Luna from Madrid and José Luis Medina from Andalusia, all of them already in the project in 2019; is completed by the Andalusian Marius Knight-Chaneac, the Cantabrian David Gimeno Pardo, the Catalan Arnau Gilabert, the Sorian Antonio González Torres, the Valencian Pablo García González and the Madrid Samuel de Pablo Rubio, Miguel Ángel Molina Castrejón and Miguel Ramos Cabañas.

This year’s concentration, however, was preceded by the protocolary passage through the facilities of Premium Madrid in the Madrid town of Pozuelo de Alarcón, where the cyclists of the junior team underwent medical examinations and various effort tests between Thursday and Friday morning. Once the medical studies were completed, the afternoon saw the start of a concentration in which the runners and staff carried out a night walk between the hostel and the port of Canencia, an experience that has become a small tradition within this concentration. “It is a past this route, two and a half hours after which the legs itch”, jokes Francesc Bennassar.

On Saturday morning, under absolutely favourable weather conditions, the whole team marched to the iconic installation of the Bola del Mundo, near the Port of Navacerrada. “It made us a spectacular day, a great time to enjoy the mountain, not cold at all”, adds Bennassar. Later, after lunch, and in the hostel, there were several talks by Jorge Ramos, coach, Guillermo Gutierrez, sports director, and Felix García Casas, manager of the teams of the Foundation. “Afterwards we all watched a movie together, we also did some personal interviews and had some time to play ping-pong and foosball”, concludes Bennassar.

The contact with the bicycle took place this Sunday morning, with a departure of about 100 kilometers with about 1,100 meters of unevenness that developed over the Cuenca Alta del Manzanares. A cold start, with low temperatures around two and three degrees. “It is true that we could not enjoy them as much as last year because there was a lot of fog and could not enjoy the views. But in the end we enjoyed with the companions, doing group”. “Yesterday made us a spectacular day, today has been one of these days of fog and cold and almost all day we have been at five degrees. The route has become hard”, says Felix García Casas.

“It has been a perfect weekend, a very good experience getting to know the new teammates and discovering new areas for me”, comments the Valencian Pablo García, one of the new faces of the team. “With colleagues is always very important to do this type of training, we know each other a lot, we do pineapple, it is a luxury to know more because then in the season sometimes do not coincide much with some partners”, says Bennassar.

“One more year we begin to put the bases of the following season with this concentration in which the fundamental objective is to make group. That the boys know each other better and that they have a good time. They are already a few editions and we are very satisfied with the results. For many of them this is the first experience of these characteristics that they live”, explains Guillermo Gutiérrez, director of the youth team of the Alberto Contador Foundation.

Antonio González, another of the new faces for 2020: “The truth is that we had a fantastic time. There has been an unbeatable atmosphere between everyone, runners and staff. I have enjoyed a lot the two walks we did, but especially the second one, with incredible views to the mountains and all this area of the Community of Madrid. The bike route was also very nice, although it didn’t make us the best of the days. We enjoyed a lot. It has been an unbeatable bridge. Personally, I’m really looking forward to the start of the year”.

(automatic translation, sorry for mistakes)

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