Stage 16: Saint Paul Trois Chateaux – Gap (162.5km)
Stages like this are often referred to as “transition” stages. They’re not easy, but they’re not terribly hard, and they move the peloton from one type of terrain to another – typically into the mountains. Stage 16 introduces the peloton to the Alps, and gradually climbs into the mountains surrounding the town of Gap. From there the riders go out of town, up the Col de Manse, and back down to the finish in town. The Manse is not that steep or long, but considering that the descent from the summit leads right to the finish line, a well-timed attack on the climb could win the stage. It’s not likely that the yellow jersey contenders will attack each other on the Manse, only because they know there are three more days in the Alps where their climbing prowess will be tested to a much greater extent.
If you want to win Stage 16, I think you’re going to have to attack in the final 2 kilometers of the Col de Manse, get a gap on the climb and carry it all the way to the finish. That means today’s workout needs to be the same HillAcceleration workout I used on Stage 8. These HillAccelerations include a surge on the climb, acceleration over the top, and a period of high-intensity riding as you begin the descent.
Today’s Workout: 2:30 Endurance Miles (50-91% of Field Test average heart rate, 45-73% of Field Test average power) with HillAccelerations. (Click for CTS Field Test Instructions)
How to do it: At a moderate speed (13-16 mph), approach a relatively small hill that takes 3-4 minutes to climb. As the road starts to go uphill, bring your intensity up to about 90-95% of your field test power output in the first minute, and then increase to 95-100% of your field test power in the second minute. As you get to about 1 minute or 500 meters from the top of the climb, accelerate to maximum power and speed. As you reach the top of the hill, you want to increase your cadence and shift into a harder gear again to go over the top as fast as possible and continue at max intensity for another minute of the descent. Beginners should do two sets of three intervals, intermediate riders should do two sets of four intervals, and advanced riders should do two sets of six intervals. Take 5 minutes of recovery between intervals and 8 minutes of easy spinning recovery between sets.