For the second year in a row, the ski resort of Courchevel, in Savoie, is hosting Racing 92, the rugby club from the Hauts-de-Seine area, for their training before the start of the 2021-2022 season. The club's sports director, Yannick Nyanga, tells us what's new for the season, Racing's plans and the benefits of the mountains for pre-season training.
We are delighted to welcome you a second time this summer in Courchevel. Why did you choose our resort once again?
We chose the ski resort of Courchevel for our training course at the beginning of the season because the conditions are optimal for team cohesion, mutual aid and physical preparation. We already experienced this last year and it brought us luck during the beginning of the season, we were very strong. So, when we are able, in one place, to combine utility, fun, good vibes and professionalism, we have no reason to change!
What are the assets of Courchevel for your training?
The altitude is the main asset of the resort for our training. The mountain environment allows us to develop our abilities in a challenging environment. At more than 1200m, the air is more scarce than at sea level. For training, it is harder. In these conditions, our body makes a lot of red blood cells. These are the effects that we are looking for when we train in the pre-season. Moreover, the working conditions are very pleasant. We manage to mix the difficulty of the training with the pleasant side of the resort.
What are the benefits of altitude training?
The phenomenon of hypoxia is the major benefit for this training. With the lack of oxygen due to the altitude, the body produces more red blood cells. When you return to sea level, you are much better prepared for sports and therefore more efficient.
What are your news and projects for the coming season?
We will try to win a title (laughs), that's why we are here! The main novelties are in the squad because we have welcomed new players, notably Gaël Fickou, who arrived at the end of last season and who will be able to start the whole season with us; Baptiste Pesenti, who joined us this season; and a lot of youngsters that we have coached during the last few years at the training center. They will be able to show the extent of their progress and that they have earned their place in the team.
What are your next goals?
Carry the colors of Racing 92 as high as possible! We always have the ambition to win titles, against 14 other teams who have the same objective as us at the beginning of the season. The same goes for the European Cup, so it is a bit pretentious to say that we will be the winners this year but, in any case, we focus on the image we want to showcase: a team with character, very high level and we hope that these values will bring us closer to a title.
Any last words?
Yes, for Courchevel. Thanks to all the teams of the resort. We have been welcomed in an extraordinary way so far. We have kept in touch throughout the season, received messages before and after each game and we have no doubt of the warm welcome we will receive this year, just for the preparation, we realized how everyone was able to combine good humor and professionalism.