2011 “Do the Tour, Stay at Home” Workout Program: Stage 6


Stage 6: Dinan – Lisieux (226.5km)

Stage hunters must be salivating over Stage 6 of the 2011 Tour de France. With three categorized climbs spaced out during the stage and a small but significant hill just 1.5 kilometers from the finish, this is the first stage of this year’s race that’s ideally suited to a solo finisher or a sprint from a small breakaway group. Look for riders like Sylvain Chavanel or Thomas Voeckler to do everything possible to get in the day’s long breakaway. If the peloton is all together in the closing kilometers, those two could still play major roles, and you also have to consider Sammy Sanchez or Philippe Gilbert. The overall contenders are likely to play it safe today and just watch each other, but if riders like Cadel Evans, Ivan Basso, or Ryder Hesjedal see an opportunity to gain some time and a valuable stage win, they might take it.

Whether there’s a successful long-range breakaway or a last-minute attack on the final climb, the winning move is likely to start with one rider attacking a group about 1.5-2 kilometers from the finish.

A lot of people focus on developing the power necessary to launch attacks, but neglect to train for what happens after you get a gap. Today’s workout is one that I use with athletes – everyone from pros to beginners – because it bridges the gap (no pun intended) between working on the individual components of attacking on climbs (the VO2 effort of making the attack, and the lactate threshold effort of staying away) and enables athletes to practice race-winning moves in training.

Today’s Workout: 1:30 Endurance Miles (50-91% of Field Test average heart rate, 45-73% of Field Test average power) with HillAttacks. (Click for CTS Field Test Instructions)

How to do it: Find a hill that takes at least four minutes to climb. If you don’t have any, do it on flat ground. This workout is just as good at preparing an athlete for flat-ground attacks and breakaways. Ride into the beginning of the 4-minute interval at a challenging pace, and then start the interval by attacking, out of the saddle, as hard as you can go, for 45 seconds. After your initial acceleration, settle into the highest intensity you can maintain and hold this intensity for the rest of the climb (or until you reach 4 minutes if you’re doing these on flat ground or on a long climb). Your power output during this portion of the interval should be in your ClimbingRepeat range or higher, and your cadence should be above 85rpm. The intensity for ClimbingRepeats is 95-100% of the higher of your two average power outputs, and if you’re using heart rate your range should be 95-97% of the higher of your two field test average heart rates. Take 5 minutes of easy spinning recovery between intervals. Beginners should complete 4 intervals, intermediate and advanced riders should complete 6 intervals. 

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