The 2018 cycling season is over and the pros are enjoying their well-deserved rest. Cesare Benedetti (BORA-hansgrohe) decided to spend his days off in Poland, his wife’s homeland, where we caught up with him to learn more about his training routine and plans for the future.

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Off road 🏔

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We know that you have signed a 2-year contract extension with your team. Congratulations. Could you tell us if you have specific goals, which you would like to achieve in the next 24 months?

Thanks, I am glad I’ll be able to ride my bike for at least 2 more seasons. Well, my goal is always the same; to be ready to do my job in the races I’ll be given. I think in 2019 my calendar will more or less be the same as in the last two seasons, so I hope to reach some good results thanks to our leaders.

I have taken part in a good number of wins in 2018 with McCarthy, Bennett, Ackermann, and Pelucchi. It’s simple, I want more for 2019. (laughing)

What are you doing training-wise in the off season? Do you have some kind of routine, which you must follow until you get back to the official training camps with your team?

My last race was Lombardia on the 13th of October. After that, I kept training until the 23rd in Lienz, Osttirol, when we had our first team meeting for the following season. From the 24th of October to the 11th of November I was twice on the bike for a total of 3 hours of riding.

Benedetti leads the peleton during stage 17 of the Giro D’Italia, 23 May 2018. © Profimedia, TEMP Rex Features

That was my real off season. On the 12th of November, I started to train again for the 2019 season and I am now back to the usual routine.

Since you are in the off season and are not being followed by the team’s nutritionist, does your team provides you with guidelines to follow during this time or are you stuffing yourself with pierogies and other Polish delicacies?

We are not controlled by the team this time of the year. In any case, we are never controlled when we are home. We just try to control ourselves a bit since we perfectly know that it is very easy and quick to put on weight while it is much harder to lose it.

You need to find a good balance to enjoy something that you might not eat during the season. Having some satisfaction in terms of food is good for the mind as well!

Are you riding a lot on the roads these days or are you taking a break? Perhaps you are doing some MTB or indoor training? Or are you at the gym?

Cycling is still the main activity, sometimes unfortunately!

In the past, I had more time for alternative activities, not so much now. You see, the season is pretty long since we finish around the 20th of October. Then, at the beginning of December, we are already on our training camp with the team.

So I go hiking as much as I can, being in the mountains is what I love the most in my life and during this time I can use it as training.

It’s good to use those muscles that we don’t use for 11 months during the cycling season and when you walk up mountains it is easy to make the heart work. You can easily do an interval of one hour at 150 bpm, for example. In November you would suffer a lot to do the same on the bike.

Apart from that, you can train the strength as well. In this time, I go to the gym twice a week then I keep just the core training and squats for the rest of the season.

We recently did an interview with your team’s chief mechanic regarding the innovations in the peloton. He said your team will be 100 % on disk brakes next year. We are interested to know what you see as the biggest difference as a pro vis-a-vis the traditional rim brakes. We all know that disk brakes are better in the rain but what about using them all the time?

Yeah, that is true. Honestly, I am not a big fan of innovations at all costs but that’s the way the world is going and cycling is following the trend as well.

I have been training on a bike with disc brakes since last October. So far, I cannot see any big difference during my training rides, mainly because I never go downhill in full speed in training to limit unnecessary risks.

So my opinion is this – I think that they probably need more maintenance because they need to be precise if you want them to work well.

Cesare waits on the start line of the 13th stage of the 2016 Tour de France. © Profimedia, TEMP EPA

When is your 1st training camp scheduled and where?

We will be on the Tegernsee in Bavaria between 3rd and 7th December. From there we will fly all together to Mallorca until the 21st. We’ll have some testing and some medical checks in Germany while we’ll be fully focused on training on the Spanish island.

With family both in Italy and Poland, it must be difficult to manage the Christmas holidays! How do you deal with such a huge family “conflicts”?

No conflicts! Since we got married in 2013, we spend the Christmas day once in Poland and the next year in Trento. We alternate. Before that, we just spent Christmas with the respective families.

Favourite Polish food?

Definitely Barszcz. I am a big fan of soups. It already happened at the restaurant that when it was the moment to order the dessert, I would go for another soup!

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