Stage 10: Aurillac – Carmaux (161km)
Stage 10 is relatively short and doesn’t feature any major difficulties that would offer opportunities for the yellow jersey contenders. And with the Pyrenees looming in the distance, many riders and teams will be happy to let a breakaway have the day. Knowing this, the competition to be in the breakaway will be fierce in the first hour of racing. This can be the hardest part of the day, because the composition of the breakaway group has to be just right in order for it get away. If the group is too big (more than about 8 riders) or if it contains riders who are too high up in the general classification, the other teams will chase it down and the process of creating a breakaway group starts again. In the end, this “Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears” process will sort itself out when a group of 4-8 non-threatening riders from a variety of teams (typically only one rider from any individual team) forms off the front and the teams of the sprinters and yellow jersey contenders turn off the gas and let them gain time.
If you’re one of the riders who is trying to make the selection and get into the day’s breakaway, you have to be able to attack, work hard for several minutes, settle down for a few minutes (after your breakaway attempt is reeled in), and then launch or respond to another attack. There’s very little recovery between these efforts, but you have to commit completely to each one. But when you have the fitness and power for these repeated efforts, you can get yourself into the breakaway and have a shot at victory.
Today’s Workout: 1:30 Endurance Miles (50-91% of Field Test average heart rate, 45-73% of Field Test average power) with Attacks. (Click for CTS Field Test Instructions)
How to do it: The goal of Attacks is to replicate the process of attacking and forming a breakaway. Each 12-minute interval starts with a maximal effort for two minutes (110+% of Field Test power, 100+% of Field Test heart rate, RPE of 10), and then you step the intensity down to your ClimbingRepeat intensity range for four minutes (not because you’re climbing, but because it’s a step above the more sustainable SteadyState intensity). The intensity range for ClimbingRepeats is 95-100% of Field Test power, 95-97% of Field Test heart rate, RPE of 8 out of 10. At the end of this 4-minute period, step your intensity down one more notch to your SteadyState range (86-90% of Field Test power, 92-94% of Field Test heart rate, RPE of 7) for 6 minutes. These intervals are very difficult because you start out with an intense effort that generates a lot of lactate. You’ll still be processing that lactate as your riding at ClimbingRepeat intensity, and still dealing with it throughout the SteadyState portion as well. Beginners and intermediate riders should complete two intervals, and advanced riders should complete three intervals. Take 6 minutes of easy spinning recovery between intervals.