Le Tour 2019 - Stage 8

Wow, wow, wow!

We’ve had some exciting days so far in this year’s Tour de France, but from a personal perspective, I’m not certain if there will be a more exciting day than today (and normally I’m most excited by the mountain stages). On multiple levels today’s stage was an epic one. Proper, full on racing.

On one level, I thought today would solely be about the breakaway, which we had with Thomas De Gendt, But there was excitement with Alaphilippe, and Pinot smashing to get away from the leading peloton of GC riders. And, in the closing kilometres, there was the crash with Geraint Thomas.

I’ll be honest, I like Thomas, and definitely was glad to see him leading Ineos, but deep down, I really want Thibaut Pinot to win. Additionally, with that break of De Gendt, I was willing him on to take the stage. The scenery was amazing, and the amount of climbing the riders had to face today (~3600m of gain), it was just epic, epic racing, and so different from yesterday.

Seeing Alaphilippe smash it on the top of the climbs to get away with Pinot was amazing. Really exciting nail biting racing. Would they stay away, or would they get caught before the line.

It’s great to see De Gendt win, I love him going in the breaks and seeing him try every day. I was going to talk a little today about how to train to get in a break but I’ll leave that for another day.

Today though, the French tandem of Alaphilippe and Pinot was just amazing. But how can you improve your ability to break away on the top of a climb and drop your fellow racers or mates (because who doesn’t like to hurt your mates and drop them!).

There’s a variety of sessions you can do — but two sessions to help increase your top end aerobic power would be aimed at increasing your MAP (maximal aerobic power), which would be to complete three to six by 4-minutes, one to three times per week, at intensity of approximately 80% of MAP. These would be best done on a hill.

Additionally, you could also try completing a minimum of 3 sets of four by 30-seconds ‘on’, with 30-secs ‘off’ and two minutes between sets. The on periods should be at, at least 100% of MAP, with the off periods taken easily. This session could be done once or twice a week, but only advanced athletes should also incorporate these 30-seconds intervals with the 4-minute efforts.

Great racing today. I hope you all enjoyed it.

Richard Stern