You may not be able to race the Tour de France, but you can simulate it at home. FasCat Coaching’s Matt Rossman has prepared a training calendar that mimics (albeit on a smaller scale) the physiological demands of a grand tour.
Within the program you can sprint, climb, time trial, or just sit in if you are going for the GC. See what it’s like to push your limit with back-to-back mountain stages in the form of threshold intervals.
Can you ride for 21 stages with only two rest days? It will be an exciting challenge and completing your own Tour will make you a stronger rider and be a great mid-summer accomplishment.
To download your three-week, Tour De France training plan, go to the FasCat site.
The Tour De France training calendar is set up to mimic the physiological demands of the terrain of the Tour through intervals of varying intensities and durations. For example, the early VO2 max workout will simulate the short, steep climbs in Belgium. In the Tour, the riders will be going over these climbs at a maximal aerobic effort. During the longer mountain stages, the intervals on the calendar are in the medium-to-hard range. On multiple categorized climb days, the GC favorites will ride just below their threshold (tempo and sweet spot) on the first climbs, then full-gas (on the calendar those efforts are marked as “FG!!” — as hard as you can go) threshold on the final climbs where the race is decided. For non-sprinters, the flat days between mountain stages are often used for recovery (barring crosswinds, cobbles, etc). Therefore, treat these transition stages as endurance and recovery days.
The calendar shows the finishing city of each stage next to the date. On your training rides, try to mimic the stage as much as possible. Obviously, if you live in Florida, finding alpine climbs is impossible. You can still get the physiological benefit of zone 4 training, and watching the amazing climbs of the Tour (on VeloNews.com, of course) will put you in the proper “climbing mindset.” The following table explains the letters next to the finish city:
HM High Mountain Stage
M Medium Mountain Stage
H Hilly Stage
F Flat Stage
TT Time Trial
Overall, it’s a lot of riding. Understandably, work, family, and other commitments can make completing every workout a challenge. But improving as a cyclist is all about setting goals and working towards those goals. Following this Tour ee France training plan will give you a goal to accomplish for July and some insight into what your favorite Tour professionals are going through.
If you are interested in a more custom training plan, contact us at FasCat coaching.
Matt Rossman is a category 2 cyclist and USA Cycling-certified coach working for FasCat Coaching. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and particularly enjoys sleeping as much as he can on his rest days.