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Climbing and more climbing for week 3 of the Tour de France training plan

  • By Frank Overton & Carson Christen, M.S. Exercise Physiology
  • Published Jul. 15, 2013
The peloton will climb l'Alpe d'Huez twice during stage 18 of the Tour this week. Photo: Graham Watson | www.grahamwatson.com

Editor’s note: This is the second of our Tour de France Training Plan installments for 2013. Get details for the plan and take on the race’s final two weeks here.

We hope you are enjoying our Tour de France training plan. Two weeks of the 2013 Tour de France plan are now complete.

Now that the Tour has moved from the Pyrénées to the Alps, Sweet Spot and Threshold intervals continue to dominate the upcoming workouts. These workouts are characterized by larger training duration, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE), training stress scores (TSS), and a great deal of energy expended (kilojoules).

Fatigue will definitely start to set in, so make sure to take advantage of the recovery tips mentioned in last week’s article. Stage 18 will be one not to miss as the Tour passes over one of the most infamous mountains used in La Grande Boucle, l’Alpe d’Huez, twice.

Threshold climbing tips

For days when climbs of 30-60 minutes dominate the stage, such as stage 18, it is important to pace properly for the duration of climbs in order to make sure you expend the proper effort over the course of the climb:

1. Start a bit more reserved than you think (i.e. 90-95 percent of threshold power or heart rate)
2. Settle into your own pedaling rhythm, spinning instead of mashing a big gear by choosing a rear cassette with a 25- or 27-tooth sprocket, and possibly even using a triple chain ring up front
3. Make sure to keep eating and hydrating
4. Unzip your jersey and ride by grabbing the tops of your handlebars in order to maximize available oxygen to the lungs. Alternate in and out of the saddle and pretend you are Chris Froome!

Time trial pacing

Proper pacing for a time trial is essential to complete the distance over the fastest speed and lowest time. You should have a great representation of your threshold power from the stage 11 time trial. Use this wattage and heart rate to help pace the final field test of the training plan.

The closer you get to the finish line, the harder you should go. The power graph of a properly paced field test should see a flat power profile right at your threshold power, instead of a massive first five minutes, followed by a slowly decreasing output.

Good luck with the final week of the training plan, the biggest week of the series. Stick to the schedule and really empty the tank during your workouts, knowing you are done with a final victory sprint on Sunday on the Champs-Élysées. Starting next Monday you will have a well-deserved rest week!

FILED UNDER: On the Bike / Tour de France / Training Center TAGS: /

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