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A Cyclist’s Guide to Training Like a Tour de France Contender

Posted on December 16, 2015 by Natalie Ige

Tour de FranceSome people are cyclists and some people are serious cyclists. Up until last year, I definitely fell into the former category, but this year I decided that I wanted to up my game when it came to my bike riding, and so I turned to the people who manage to turn cycling into an endurance art form, those people who I would never want to be in the shoes of, but would love to be able to ride like: Tour de France cyclists. They’re truly incredible. They slog it out, rain hail or shine for twenty-one days on thankless terrain, in the toughest and most prestigious cycling race in the world. So of course, who better to learn from about how to get a better cycling technique? I have combined the workout which I followed when I was training this year, and I am very happy to say that I managed to get a far better time on my daily commute and have smashed all of my previous best times on Strava. Not too bad, really! Take a look to see how I did it.


Set a benchmark for yourself

When you’re training, there’s really no way to know if you’re doing better unless you set up some benchmarks for yourself. You can do tests in order to figure out where you’re standing, and these are usually one, five or 20 minute tests which are going to determine your best power. In order to do these tests, you pelt it out on your bike for the requisite times, and while they may be mentally and physically exhausting, they’re also the best way to get a benchmark of where you’re at. If you don’t have a power metre on your bike, you can map out a course that usually takes you around one, five or 20 minutes and then track your progress on these. You’ll know how you’re doing by how long they take you!


Fake it

When you’re trying to get your fitness up to speed, it’s a good idea to set yourself some races. That way, you have something to aim for. I find that when I’m ‘racing,’ my competitive side kicks in and I can’t help but push myself just that little bit harder every time, as it’s part of who I am! Figure out what motivates you and make that part of your training.


Recovery is key

You need to make sure that you are using the turns and descents to rest your body. To simulate this, you should ride at medium-difficult pace (you should be able to say a sentence at a time, but not much more) for a minute, and then follow that minute with 30 seconds in high to maximum mode. If you can speak only two words here, that’s perfect. Aim to repeat the two efforts without rest for 20 minutes. Yikes.


Workout no matter what

If you have distractions in place (kids, work etc) get up early enough so that you have plenty of time to work out, before the distractions get you! You’ll have to plan ahead but this won’t be a problem provided you’re disciplined.


Attack the climbs

You need to be strong across the board to ride in the Tour de France 2016, so your training should focus on being able to dominate the climbs. A great way to do this practice is to find a 20 minute long climb (or so) and then do intervals at the base and then at the top. In the middle of the hill you should be working it out too, not just panting from your initial exertions

I hope this Tour de France training guide has been helpful for you and that you manage to up the ante with your cycling game! Best of luck.



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