Stage 15: Limoux – Montpellier (193km)
With the Pyrenees behind them and rest day immediately in front of them, there will be some riders who are happy to take it easy on Stage 15 and other riders who want to take advantage of tomorrow’s rest day by going full-gas today. And to make matters worse for both groups, Stage 15 rolls through low hills just inland from the Mediterranean Sea. It can be unbelievably hot in this area in July, which will strain riders who may already be on the verge of suffering from chronic dehydration.
For the sprinters, this might be the only chance they have to win a stage before the final sprint on the Champs Elysees, so they and their teams will be very motivated to pull back the day’s long breakaway. But the sprinters themselves have to get some speed back in their legs. Three days of grinding over major mountain passes will have them feeling sluggish and heavy, and they need to loosen up and get that race-winning snap back into their legs before the final surge for the finish line. One way to do this is to focus on pedaling smaller gears in the early going on a stage like today.
The Workout: 2:00 EnduranceMiles (50-91% of Field Test average heart rate, 45-73% of Field Test average power) with FastPedal Intervals. (Click for CTS Field Test Instructions)
Though your heart rate and breathing rate will increase during the intervals, there’s no prescribed heart rate or power ranges. I just want you to shift into an easy gear and bring your cadence up to as fast as you can go without bouncing in the saddle. Focus on kicking over the top and pulling through the bottom of the pedal stroke, as this will help you stay smooth and help you keep you from bouncing. Beginners should do four 3-minute FastPedal Intervals, intermediate riders should do five 4-minute intervals, and advanced riders should do five 5-minute intervals. All intervals are separated by 4 minutes of moderate-cadence recovery.