Stage 3: Olonne-sur-Mer – Redon (198km)
The wind may play a significant role in the intensity of Stage 3. Riding predominately south along the west coast of France, strong on-shore winds could lead to splits in the field and a very hard day of aggressive racing. On the other hand, if the weather is calm, this will be a day for the overall contenders to sit safely in the draft while the sprinters’ teams control the pace in order to set up a field sprint for the finish. The final kilometers of the stage are very flat, which means it will be highly likely that a breakaway or last-minute attack will succumb to the collective speed of the sprinters’ leadout trains. This is the first stage of the race that world’s quickest sprinters like Mark Cavendish, Alessandro Petacchi, Tyler Farrar, and perhaps Tom Boonen (although he’s said he believes his fastest sprints are behind him) will really have a chance to come out and play.
Today’s Workout: 1:30 Endurance Miles (50-91% of Field Test average heart rate, 45-73% of Field Test average power) with FlatSprints. Alternative workout: Since it’s July 4 and there might be a group ride, you could always have a sprint contest with a group of your cycling buddies! (Click for CTS Field Test Instructions)
How to do it: Sprints are always performed at 100% maximum output. On flat terrain, you should be rolling along at a moderate speed (15-22mph depending on your stage of development) in a light gear. Jump out of the saddle, accelerating the entire time, then return to the saddle after a few seconds, focusing on maintaining high pedal speed with smooth and efficient form for the entire sprint. These sprints should be 10-15 seconds in length. Beginners should do 6 sprints, intermediate riders should do 8, and advanced riders should do 10
The biggest mistake people make when performing sprint workouts is that they do not give themselves enough time between sets to actually recover and produce a maximal effort time and time again. If you put these sprints to close together you change the workout to a different energy system, more of an over/under style workout instead of creating the big neuromuscular adaptations we are looking for. Full recovery between sprints is very important to allow for rebuilding of ATP in the muscles and to ensure a quality sprint workout. Normally, 5-8 minutes allows for enough recovery before adding another sprint to your workout.