Cycling: SCF's inaugural test camp series aims to gear national riders up for SEA Games

SINGAPORE – The wheels of Singapore Cycling Federation’s (SCF) inaugural test camp series turned on Saturday (April 24), with the first of 10 sessions conducted to assist national cyclists in their preparation for the year-end SEA Games and other major Games.

With the Covid-19 pandemic limiting chances for athletes to compete both locally and overseas, this series was created to simulate competition through time trials and lab tests, as well as create a high performance training environment.

This also allows athletes to receive data that they would be able to benchmark themselves against and track their progress.

On top of training, the camps also aim to bring riders of different disciplines – such as time trialling, mountain bike racing and track cycling – together to cultivate a good team atmosphere and culture.

Most camps are three days long, with Saturday’s and Sunday’s sessions lasting around 10 hours each, with Friday’s from 5 to 7pm.

The test camps are created by Australian Shayne Bannan, who was appointed as SCF’s high performance director earlier this month.

The 59-year-old was previously general manager of GreenEdge Cycling, now known as Team BikeExchange, a professional outfit that competes on the International Cycling Union (UCI) World Tour, the top road cycling circuit.

He was also high performance director of Cycling Australia and Australian Institute of Sport, where he helped the Australian team achieve a national record of six golds, two silvers and three bronzes at the 2004 Athens Games.

The opening test camp was mainly focused on breaking the ice, allowing the cyclists and Bannan to get to know more about one another and understand each others’ goals and ambitions.

Core values were also set and athletes were put through a power profiling test, measuring their anaerobic fitness and endurance.

Road cyclist Darren Lim, 23, said these tests gives athletes “a sense of where they stand”.

He added: “I believe this test is from the UCI, so the standards range from World Tour standards to recreational standards… It is something like the Napfa or IPPT test but specifically for cycling, which allows you to see how you fare and how your fitness changes over time.”

For the next few camps, more intensive training on the road and specific training for the various disciplines will be included.

(From left) Calvin Sim, Samuel Leong and Darren Lim during a test on April 24, 2021. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Bannan said that there are many areas in which he is looking to help in an athlete’s improvement, such as “talking to them about race tactics, how races evolve”, as well as different training techniques.

For many cyclists, it was their first time interacting with Bannan in a face-to face setting, as well as with riders from other disciplines.

Track cyclist Calvin Sim, 32, said: “We do not usually have this kind of engagement or interaction with cyclists from other disciplines, so I think that it is a good start.

“With Shayne introducing a direction and the support that SCF is going to give, it sets the tone and a purpose. We never had that figurehead in cycling before, so I think that is really good.”

National road cyclist Chelsie Tan also expressed the same confidence in Bannan’s plan for the team, adding: “Shayne is very experienced and I trust in what he has planned for us. I look forward to seeing myself improve throughout the camp, and for the team to become more cohesive.”

Bannan hopes to send five men and women cyclists each to compete in the road and mountain bike events at the Nov 21-Dec 2 Hanoi Games.

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