So, it turns out you didn’t make the 198 starters for this year’s Tour de France. You can still get a three-week tour in your legs, however, with the FasCat Tour de France training calendar.
Our Tour De France training calendar is set up to mimic the physiological demands of the terrain of the 2012 Tour through intervals of varying intensities and durations. For example, the early VO2 max workout will simulate the short, steep climbs in Belgium, and the Picardie and Normandie regions of Northern France. In the Tour, the riders will be going over these climbs at a maximal aerobic effort in zones 5 & 6. During the longer mountain stages in the Pyrénées and the Alps, the intervals on the calendar are in the medium to hard range, sweet spot and threshold wattages and heart rate zones. On days with multiple categorized climbs, the GC favorites will ride just below their threshold (tempo and sweet spot) on the first climbs, then go full-gas (FG! on the calendar, basically as hard as you can go) threshold on the final climbs, where the race is decided.
For general classification riders, the flat days between mountain stages are often used for recovery (barring crosswinds). Therefore, if you are going for the GC, treat these transition stages as endurance and recovery days. For those of you holding down a nine-to-five in the real world, you may want to take these days off. Conversely if you are going for stages, choose a stage or two that suits your strengths and let it all hang out.
If you’d like to set your zones to follow this plan by power and/or heart rate we recommend a field test. Here are the instructions.
Here are some key stages to circle on your calendar:
Stages 1, 3, & 8 involve intense VO2 workouts in zones 5 & 6 with intervals ranging from two to five minutes. The GC may not be won on these days, but it can be lost. If you are hunting stages, these are the days for you.
Stages 7, 9, 11, 17, & 19 are very important GC days. Sweet Spot and Threshold are the stuff of these mountaintop finishes or long TT’s, and any aspirations of the yellow jersey in Paris revolve around these days. Go full-gas in your zone 4 up the final climbs!
To download your three-week, Tour De France training plan, click here.
Calendar Codes of Stages
HM High Mountain Stage
M Medium Mountain Stage
H Hilly Stage
F Flat Stage
ITT Individual Time Trial
The calendar shows the finishing city of each stage next to the date. On your training rides, we’ve designed a workout for you to follow that mimic each stage on the same day. Obviously, if you live in Florida or Texas, finding Alpine-style climbs is impossible. You can still obtain the physiological benefits of zone 4 training by power output, heart rate or by good old fashioned feel and rate of perceived exertion. Watch the Tour live in the morning for inspiration then head out after work for our own Tour stage workout. Don’t worry if you are short on time; follow the structure of the intervals for a condensed real world version. If you can ride long on the weekends go for it!
Overall, it’s a lot of riding. Understandably, work, family, and other commitments can make completing every workout a challenge. Even if you can only ride for one hour, perform the intervals and try to balance out your time so that you can consistently ride each stage. It’s better to ride for one hour each day rather than three hours but only one day a week. Set a personal goal for your own Tour, because improving as a cyclist is all about setting goals and working towards them. Following this Tour de France training plan will give you a goal to accomplish for July and some insight into what it’s like to ride the Tour de France.
2012 FasCat Coaching, all rights reserved
Editor’s Note: For more information about this training program and to inquire about coaching, camps, power meter sales and more training programs please visit www.FasCatCoaching.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.