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PARIS (AFP) — Four-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome should be suspended by his Sky team over his adverse drug test, according to world cycling governing body chief David Lappartient.
“Sky should suspend Froome,” Lappartient told French regional newspaper Le Telegramme. “Now, it’s not up to me to interfere. Without wishing to comment on the rider’s guilt, it would be easier for everyone [were Sky to suspend him]. It’s up to [Sky team manager Dave] Brailsford to take his responsibilities. Quite apart from that, I think that’s what the other riders want. They’re fed up with the general image.”
Lappartient said that regardless of Froome’s innocence or guilt, until he is either exonerated or found to have broken the rules, fans will not give him the benefit of the doubt.
“Whether the test result is abnormal or not, either naturally or fraudulently, it’s awful: in the eyes of the wider public he’s already guilty,” said the UCI chief, who claimed he found out about the test result an hour after being elected to his post over Briton Brian Cookson on September 21.
“We’re in the hands of the experts. It’s up to Froome to demonstrate the reasons for such a high level of salbutamol, it’s up to him to prove his innocence.”
Regardless, Lappartient believes the affair will last a long time with the possibility of Froome appealing any eventual sanction to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
“It’s going to be a judicial battle that will last a long time,” Lappartient said. “This affair won’t be sorted out in two minutes, it could last at least a year.”
Some of Froome’s main rivals have hit out at cycling authorities for failing to ban the reigning Tour and Vuelta a Espana champion, who tested for elevated levels of the asthma medication salbutamol during his victory in Spain’s Grand Tour last September.
Frenchman Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) described cycling as “a laughing stock” earlier this week over the affair. World time-trial champion Tom Dumoulin previously insisted his team, Sunweb, would have suspended him for a similar offense. Team Sunweb announced earlier this year an intense in-house anti-doping program independent and in addition to the UCI’s program.
Bardet even suggested that if Sky doesn’t suspend Froome, the rider himself should voluntarily “pull out” from racing “while waiting for the authorities to decide”. Lappartient said he understood Bardet’s feelings, adding: “He’s saying out loud what everyone’s thinking under their breath.”
Lappartient said he would look into the issue of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE), which many believe have been abused to allow riders to get an unfair advantage from legally taking banned substances.
The UCI president said he wanted to put in place “independent medical observation” that would prevent riders from competing if they’ve applied for and been granted a TUE. “That would allow us to solve the corticosteroids problem,” Lappartient added.
In 2016, the Russian hacking group Fancy Bears revealed that Bradley Wiggins, the first Briton to win the Tour in 2012 before Froome emulated him a year later, had received three TUEs during his career at crucial moments — before the Tour in 2011 and 2012 and the Giro d’Italia in 2013.
Wiggins claims he needed to take the corticosteroid triamcinolone to treat allergies but some ex-cyclists have spoken out against that claiming it would have given him a significant performance boost.
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More episodes of The VeloNews ShowVN Show: The shrinking peloton, CX Nationals moves to December
VN Show: Why we’re watching Sagan, Froome, and Boels Dolmans in 2018
VN Show: Chris Froome’s Salbutamol case is cycling’s biggest story
VN Show: Is Froome’s Giro participation a blast or a bummer?
More episodes of The VeloNews Show
VN Show: The shrinking peloton, CX Nationals moves to DecemberThe pro peloton is shrinking in 2018. No, we're not talking about Nairo Quintana and Esteban Chaves.
Editor’s note: This VeloNews Show includes images from YouTube/CXHairs, Red Bull Content Pool, YouTube/SlamerDad, YouTube/USA Cycling,, YouTube/TheLateShowwithJamesCorden,, Flickr Creative Commons This week’s episode of the VeloNews Show is sponsored by Health IQ, the life insurance company that works with cyclists. 
USA Cycling’s national cyclocross championships delivered plenty of drama and excitement this past weekend. On this week’s episode of The VeloNews Show we break down all of the action from Reno, Nevada.
Stephen Hyde and Jeremy Powers revived their rivalry in the elite men’s race. Katie Compton took her 14th national title in the women’s race. And some young up-and-coming racers turned heads with impressive rides.
One of those riders is Christopher Blevins, who already owns multiple national titles in mountain bike racing. That’s not the only reason we’re impressed with Blevins, however. Blevins is a budding music star, and on this week’s episode, we check out his music video.
All that and more on this week’s VeloNews Show.
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Ben Serotta never really went away. How could he? Classic bikes around the world bear his name and serve as a reminder of his place in cycling history. But after a 2013 split with Divine Cycle Group, Serotta dropped out of bicycling’s public sphere. Until last week, it’s fair to say most of us had no idea what Serotta had gotten up to since then.
He’s been busy — very often sitting on an airplane en route to various manufacturing facilities in Asia. From his vision-expanding time working on a bike share system in New York to reimagining and restarting his own bicycle brand dubbed Serotta Design Studios, Serotta’s creativity and energy never left the bicycling world at all. It just took a lot of behind-the-scenes work to bring it back to us.VeloNews tech editor Dan Cavallari caught up with Serotta to find out what he’s been up to and what brought him back to the cycling sphere.VeloNews: Let’s start with an easy one: Where’ve you been all these years? Since 2013, anyway.Ben Serotta: The business that I’ve now just launched was something that was percolating in the back of my mind in late 2013. At the same time, I was asking myself whether or not I was ready to dive back in. I had been putting a lot of thought into how to reconfigure the business. It was clear how business needed to be done, and it was going to be different from how we had done it in successful years and how we were still trying to conduct it.
Something that intrigued me was the relationship to the end user. In the many years of building Serotta, I started the business with a little retail store and I worked one-on-one with all my clients. As the business evolved, that happened less and less frequently. It never went away, but I realized there was something I was personally missing as well as just appreciating the relationship. When you put a lot of time into making something, part of the payoff is the vicarious relationship with the end user, getting to ride with whoever that is, an endurance athlete or professional athlete or just someone who’s having a great time.Photo: Serotta Design Studios
So I was thinking about, it’s not just as simple as saying consumer-direct. How do I put myself and the company in a position to have a better relationship with our end-users? I was exploring membership-based businesses and came across what was happening with the bike-share world. It was intriguing that the NYC bike share system, or the company that developed that with 10 other cities, was in the process of being sold to a New York-based real estate company and a New York-based fitness company. I contacted them because I was curious, and had a phone call. I wasn’t interested in doing work for them, but I wanted to have a conversation. That led to the conversation of what are you doing now, we could use some help figuring out our supply chain.
That led to my doing some consulting work for that Brooklyn-based company and it was very full-time, and it was fun. It was so completely different from what I had been doing, and there was a great appeal to that. Instead of trying to build a perfect bike for one person, I was trying to build a perfect bike in one size for thousands of people to use. It was an interesting transformation. The path that needed fixing was developing a supply solution from Asia, and for the first time in my business career, I went to Asia. I hadn’t had a reason to go because I’d been so committed to manufacturing in-house. It was great on so many levels. Relationships that I developed on those trips really made this next episode possible.VN: It’s clear there was some bitterness by the end of your split with Divine Cycle Group. Where did that leave you, mentally, regarding how you felt about the bike industry as a whole? What made you want to come back?BS: A variety of considerations. Yes, it was not pleasant. And actually, the final closure was, really, a final sting. The last two years I was pretty frustrated because all my energy was going into figuring out how to right the ship and not spending any time being creative. I never liked bicycles any less. I never liked being creative with bicycles any less. If anything, I’ve had this pent-up need to do something different and work with bikes.
Sure, it’s never pleasant to be actively reminded about the things that didn’t work so well. And the other way I’m embracing this and thinking to myself, it would have been really nice to not be lied to or deceived, and it would have nice to have had a ride into the sunset with the one company. On the other hand, a change of perspective, and going out to look at other manufacturing facilities, there are opportunities available to me now that weren’t there before.
Part of me is thinking I should have closed the chapter on that sooner and do things differently. I’m OK with that. There’s always a little bit of pain and remorse about how things went, but I’m not going to let that stand in the way of having fun and doing something constructive and being successful.VN: It sounds like you’ll be executing a consumer-direct model for your business. Why did you choose this? Purely dollars and cents, a reason to connect directly with customers, or a reflection on how bike shops are changing?BS: I would say all of the above.
I think that it’s no revelation that how business is done is changing and has been for a number of years. Expectations are changing. Available margins are shrinking. Those are absolutely realities. I had come to miss the personal relationship, having a closer relationship to the people using my bikes. That was one of the things I wanted to change from the past. This decision is by no means a dumping on bike retailers. A lot of the people in the industry who I hope would still consider me a friend — I’m not dissing them. It’s just recognizing there’s a lot of change going on.Photo: Serotta Design Studios
In the past, [a retailer’s] No. 1 brand concern had to be their brand, which means no other brand can have the same level of priority concern. The dealers own the relationships with the consumers and good retailers recognize that, and guard that very closely. By the nature of how that business is done, the manufacturer has a separation there — unless you work hard to put your foot in the middle of that, which we didn’t.
I wanted it to be a better relationship, but also to have a communication with our end users to see how we’re doing. We believe strongly in the product that we’re making now and the things we’re developing, but there’s nothing that beats direct interaction with the end user to find out if you’re right on target, not meeting the target, or blowing by the target in a good way.
There’s a value there that this time around we were grasping. That’s also an opportunity, and it’s our obligation to make sure the end user has the best possible experience, and that’s different for different people. Not everyone is ready to make a decision on their own. Some people know exactly what they want. But everyone values their time.
The one truth is, busy people in particular value their time and the quality of their time. So our goal is to spend their time wisely. To some people, that’s not spending time going to a bike shop and having a lot of conversations about what they want to buy. We want to take up less of their time. Our process if fairly open-ended. We’d like the transaction to go in whatever way the customer feels most comfortable. Most people have an idea of what they want and have had a bike fitting session or have a bike they already own that fits them well. And we make sure that their new bike is set up to that standard.
If there’s something we can’t resolve, we’ll connect the customer with a live bike fitter. If someone wants to maintain a relationship with a bike shop, then we want to accommodate that as well. We’re in this to deliver the best possible experience and the best value possible. We’re not setting up a dealer network but we’re happy to have relationships with retailers or independent mechanics or independent fitters as long as that’s what the consumer wants.VN: Why aluminum, when carbon seems to be the gold standard? Do you see a risk in putting the Serotta name on a frame made from a material that’s not considered top-of-the-line in your customers’ minds?BS: There are many risks in starting a business and choosing a product line and there were many decisions regarding going with aluminum, knowing full well that there’s considerable momentum toward carbon — though the momentum has slowed. At the end of the day, I realized we don’t need to excite everyone. We don’t need everyone who’s going to buy a new bike this year to buy one of ours to be successful.
Looking back over my years in the business, most of the time the decisions I made because it felt right to me, without particularly worrying about how well it would be received, usually were the most successful things I did. I’ve had to remind myself of that. It’s uncomfortable going against the grain of a trend, but I decided these bikes needn’t be what everyone was assuming they would be. They just needed to make sense to me. I freed myself from the burden of the bike having to be carbon or titanium.
The reason for going with metal bikes is my never-ending commitment to the notion of great bike fit. Fit is a combination of how the one thing — the bicyclist and the bicycle together — having a bike that you fit very well, makes more difference than any material difference. Every one of those materials has a poor version of it (carbon, metal, etc), so assuming we’re looking at top tier of everything, all of those products perform very well. This gives us the opportunity to make more uniquely distinct sizes.
Top-tier carbon fiber, the big hurdle there is the high cost of molds, so manufacturers make sizes that sometimes aren’t very different. And so I felt that coming to market with bikes that would fit great, and a system that would make sure people got a bike that would fit great, would offer more value in the end than the material it was made out of.
I then had the option of aluminum, steel, or titanium. I bought a Cannondale a couple of years ago. I hadn’t ridden an aluminum bike in a while, and I was really impressed with what they’d done. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted in the way the bike rode, but I felt I could get there with aluminum. And it didn’t have to behave like traditional aluminum bikes. If it was aluminum instead of titanium or steel, it could be a little bit lighter and somewhat less expensive than trying to manufacture bikes that would ride equally well out of the other materials.
Does it deliver the same bike as a super-high-quality, made-to-order carbon bike that might sell for $15,000? No, but it’s not far off of that. I’m confident that it has the ride qualities of any of the top tier bikes of the other materials.
Am I little bit nervous about how people receive the bike? Sure, but I have every bit of confidence that anyone who takes the plunge won’t regret it.VN: The bike still comes with some carbon parts, though.BS: Part of the reason we spec’d it as a complete bike rather than a frame only is because to me it’s important that a bike has a nice carbon handlebar and seatpost to help balance the smoothness of the bike. We did put a lot of time and effort into the fork. Both bikes share the same fork, which was a ground-up project. I was not happy with off-the-shelf disc road forks that were available. There were a lot of poor starts with disc brake-equipped road bikes, not understanding how forces go into the fork and frame.
So the fork is not only significant in how the bike feels, but it was also a significant investment of time and energy to make sure we had a fork that was really strong, durable, and had a great ride. Carbon fiber was the only material I’d use in a modern-day fork.
I never say yes to anything unless I’m really sure of it. The products we are working on now and in the future, there will be more use of composites because it’s an irresistible material to use. I don’t want to give the impression that carbon fiber is a bad material for bikes; just that good fit is the most important.
It is a Taiwan-made fork. I worked with my longtime friend and designing buddy Jay Clark — we worked for years together at Serotta. My trips to China and Taiwan, while working on the bikeshare bikes, gave me the comfort level and relationships I needed. They were really proud of the work they were doing and that really hit home for me. My years of preconceived notions had built this idea that no one over there cares what they’re doing, they’re just working. But this team of workers blew that away. They wanted to show they were capable of solving a problem without somebody from North America telling them what to do. It was really a significant experience for me. So our goal with making this fork was to find the best facility, best company to work with based on what we were trying to do.VN: On your website, you mention you’re not much of a gravel bike fan. Why not?BS: The only way I reject the notion of gravel is, the notion that you need to have a specialty bike in order to ride on gravel. There’s nothing wrong with having the right number of bikes, N+1, if you have the space and are an equipment geek and have the resources to keep adding to your collection. That’s great. But again, as I said, I’m absolutely blessed to have spent my life so far in the northeast in upstate New York. It has unbelievable road cycling and mountain biking and everything in between. So I’ve always been able to do a bit of everything because it’s here. Most of the riding I do is on pavement, not that it’s always great pavement. So I do really enjoy the slightly wider rims and tires and lower tire pressures.
Part of the appeal to some people of finding these gravel roads is the absence of traffic. So for cyclists that live in a heavily-trafficked area I understand the appeal. But that doesn’t mean you need to give up on a bike that’s well-suited for everything. There’s no question that the bike industry as a whole will embrace anything new that might give people a reason to embrace the N+1 idea.
I understand it’s not for me to say it’s wrong to do, but the idea of trying to convince people they need something completely different …
People write me all the time wishing me good luck and then tell me about the bike they still have that’s 15 or 20 years old that they ride on Sundays because they can take it anywhere. That’s the way I look at this. What I love about riding a bike is, I don’t have to do anything other than change my clothes, pump my tires, and go out the back door. The one thing that troubles me about these specialty bikes is, it usually means turning a ride into an excursion first before you actually end up going for a ride.VN: What kind of bottom brackets do you use in your bikes? And were other styles considered? T47, for example.BS: The aluminum bike is PF30. The steel is British standard threads with a 68mm bottom bracket. It works just fine. Am I considering other choices? Yes, I do my best to keep up with the new ideas that are out there without prematurely embracing something. My commitment to myself and my customers is to deliver a product that I know they will really enjoy having. And that means a fairly high degree of tried-and-true experience so there’s a level of confidence there.Photo: Serotta Design Studios
This is an industry with a lot of enthusiastic people in it, which is a great thing. It also evolves out of people trying to sell stuff. Bike choice is more complicated than it should be, and to a degree that it takes away from the purchasing experience. On the one hand, there are some folks that, bikes are their one thing and they can afford 20 bikes in their garage and can try everything that comes along. But my vision for this business — it’s not to say any of this stuff isn’t any good because that wouldn’t be honest or true, but I want to take the other end of the spectrum.
Right now I’m focused on road bikes and the next few things will be road-oriented, and we’ll branch out in time. But my goal right now, if you mostly ride on the road and want a new road bike, I’m telling you we’ve thought this through from top to bottom and you’re going to love this bike.
I made a decision pretty recently, about a month ago, based on an inquiry from a customer who is short but not unusually short. I made a decision to really throw us back into having a smaller wheel option. There have always been builders who offered to build bikes with a smaller pair of wheels to allow smaller riders to be in the best riding position for power and handling without excessive toe overlap. There was a brief period of time when Serotta was building bikes like that. The people that got those bikes absolutely loved them and realized they weren’t giving up anything in terms of speed and performance but were gaining handling because the bikes were proportioned properly.
But we never got the advantage in sales because the industry was so heavily male-dominated and there was misinformation about using different size wheels. Based on this customer inquiry, I decided this just does not make sense trying to convince someone who is shorter than 5-foot-4 to be farther behind the bottom bracket than the small bikes that these wheels are built for. I said screw it, I’m going to add these few sizes and the opportunity to do custom. I’m excited by that. I’m pleased to see that Canyon has an offering in their line. We have our fork mold that’s almost finished, and new forks being made to accommodate a 559 rim diameter as opposed to a 584.
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The snow hasn’t melted, and the air still bites on our rides. But the racing season will be here before you know it. Now is the time to start gearing up for your favorite races, and we have the tools to make it your fastest season ever. The VeloNews Plan is the best, most comprehensive training guide we’ve ever published. Cheer up — spring is almost here. And you’re going to be really fast.
Two of my favorite books on training — both written by highly successful and well-known coaches — explain what is and isn’t important for successful training. One book states that having a coach and a plan is critical. e other says that what’s least important is — you guessed it — a coach and a plan. Unfortunately, that’s the reality with physiological training in the modern era. For every philosophy on training, there is a contradictory movement that, in some cases, is just as successful. Within this world of competing ideologies and science, the only sure thing is that there is no such thing as a perfect plan. So, what is really required for successful training? I’ll throw my take into the mix and say what’s most important is understanding — the how, why, and purpose of your training.
For the VeloNews Plan, we’ve deliberately stayed away from providing a plan that spells out what to do on Monday and what to do on Tuesday, and so forth. Instead, we focus on helping you understand your training. For those of you who believe the plan is most important, we have a basic template you can follow. For the rest of you, we break down the elements and key concepts of a training program to allow you to better understand the purpose of training, evaluate your existing plan, and/or work with your coach to refine how your approach your regimen.
Let’s take a look at our plan’s key organizational concepts.
Time to overload
There are many principles in the world of training physiology, but the overload principle is at the root of them all.
It simply states that to improve, we must stress our bodies with a training load that’s beyond what we can normally handle. Then we must rest so that our bodies can rebuild, adapt, and achieve a higher level — called super-compensation. No matter if your plan is old-school or cutting-edge, it must incorporate periods of overload and then recovery. If you learn only one thing from this article, make sure you understand the benefits of working in cycles of stress and rest. (Too many of us forget the rest part.)
In the endurance world, the level of stress is often referred to as training stress and is measured by a training stress score (TSS), invented by Hunter Allen and Dr. Andy Coggan. TSS can help assess your overload and rest.
Tip 1: I tell my athletes, “Be as intense in your recovery as you are in your training.” Your recovery must be commensurate to your overload, or else the body will not rebuild and you’ll end up weaker.
Targeting with zones
Overloading doesn’t just apply to your muscles. It’s possible to target an overload to one or two of your body’s energy systems, such as your anaerobic power or aerobic endurance systems.
In fact, the current most popular training method, block periodization, centers around training in short two- to eight-week specialized blocks that target only a few systems at a time. Many studies have shown that we get less out of training when we try to target all energy systems at once. A 2012 study on cyclists in Norway saw greater gains in those who employed a block-periodized approach.
On the bike, we improve these energy systems by training in zones. As a rule of thumb, training in each zone stresses one or two energy systems while minimally impacting others.
Tip 2: Harder is not always better. If you only do intervals and group rides, you may build great anaerobic and lactate threshold systems. But your aerobic endurance will suffer.
All effective training zone models center on two key metabolic events that occur as we increase our intensity. The two events are commonly called thresholds.
The higher threshold, often called the anaerobic or lactate threshold, represents the highest power or heart rate that can be sustained aerobically. The lower threshold, called the aerobic threshold, is the point where blood lactate levels begin to rise. It is the point at which we begin to recruit fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Many physiologists use three zones, delineated by the two thresholds. In reality, our physiological zones overlap, so for training purposes, most coaches and training systems identify more. Here are rough divisions of a basic five-zone model:Zone 1 – Training below aerobic threshold. Target: aerobic enduranceZone 2 – Aerobic threshold. Target: aerobic endurance and fatigue resistanceZone 3 – e range between the thresholds. Target: lactate clearanceZone 4 – Lactate threshold. Target: maximal sustainable powerZone 5 – This zone is often broken down further into such things as VO2max, anaerobic capacity, and anaerobic strength. Target: anaerobic pathways and maximal capacities.
Finding your zones
It’s important to determine both heart rate and power zones, if you have a power meter. The best training approaches use both.
Tip 3: I prefer my athletes do their longer endurance rides by heart rate so they can monitor physiological responses, and short interval work by power since heart rate is slow to respond. Watching heart rate relative to power can tell you a lot about what’s going on in your body.
A lactate test in a respected physiology lab is the best way to identify your zones. It’s worth the money and, if necessary, the travel. However, if you must test yourself and you have a power meter, we recommend the following protocol used by Apex Coaching in Boulder, Colorado and by Hunter Allen:Warm-up: 30-45 minutes5-second test: Do three to four all-out 5-second sprints, separated by 2 minutes. Rest 3-4 minutes.5-minute test: Do a 5-minute time trial, preferably on a climb. Rest 10-15 minutes.20-minute test: Do a 20-minute time trial on a road with minimal traffic. Rest 10 minutes.1-minute test: Do a 1-minute effort.
Each of the tests should be treated like a race. The 5-second effort is a good estimate of your anaerobic strength. The 1-minute test shows your anaerobic capacity, the 5-minute test gives your VO2max power, and the 20-minute test is an estimate of your anaerobic threshold or functional threshold power (FTP), if you multiply it by 0.95.
Even if you undergo a proper lab test, do the road test within a week to compare results. Then repeat the test about every six weeks to monitor changes.
The disadvantage of this test protocol is that it only really measures zones 4 and above. But as a general guideline, your aerobic threshold is 85 percent of your anaerobic threshold. Here are the approximate zones expressed as a percentage of FTP:
Zone 1: 101%
Find your volume
The last thing to do before starting your training plan is to determine your volume.
Start by adding up your total volume and typical weekly volume from the previous year. As a rule of thumb, you should never increase your volume more than 10-15 percent year-to-year.
Build your season
Periodization is just a fancy term for dividing your training season into periods of specialized training focused on a few energy systems. For our plan, we chose a simplified version of Vladimir Issurin’s block periodization, which is currently one of the popular periodization strategies in cycling.
The plan consists of four phases, or mesocycles. These include a base phase focused on building aerobic endurance; a high-stress build phase designed to hone race form; a race/peak phase when the athlete backs down and focuses on racing; and, finally, a rest and “rebase” phase. These phases can be repeated as many as seven times over the course of a season.
Periodize your overload
The overload principle is the foundation of proper periodization. It takes approximately three to six weeks to build a proper overload, and another one to three weeks to recover. Therefore, our mesocycles (and microcycles) tend to be three to six weeks in length.
If you look at the three in-season phases, the build phase is designed to accumulate a high training stress to overload the energy systems critical for race form. During the race/peak phase you should drop your weekly training stress significantly to allow recovery and a super-compensation. Finally, the rest phase allows the body to fully recover and adapt before repeating the full cycle.
In our plan, the 12-week base phase is far and away the longest block, but is divided into three shorter blocks, or microcycles. Each microcycle is designed to finish with a high TSS week followed by a week of recovery. Remember: overload, compensate, repeat.
As your fitness improves, your average weekly TSS should go up. But what’s important is its relative level — is it above or below what your body can handle.
Time your cycles
Athletes commonly train too hard in November. Then, they hit their best numbers on a group ride in February and burn out by May. Effective training isn’t just about getting strong. It’s about getting strong at the right time.
Race form only lasts about nine weeks before it starts to fall off. Peak form lasts for an even shorter time — only a few weeks.
One of the advantages of block periodization is that you can repeat the mesocycles many times across the season. This allows for multiple peaks. Each time you repeat the blocks, it takes less time to hit your stride.
A well-designed plan times the race/peak phase with a key event. Following the event, there is a rest, and then the cycle repeats for the next race.
A good season plan centers on the timing of your race form. To do this, start by picking your target events. It takes about nine weeks to go from base form to peak form. So, count back nine weeks from your first target event to determine when to finish base training.
Base training targets energy systems that are slow to adapt. It can take several months, especially if you’re new to cycling. So, count back another 12 to 14 weeks to determine when to start base training.
After your first peak, repeating the phases from rest to peak can take as few as four to six weeks.
Marcel Kittel undergoes a VO2max test at the Bakala Academy. Photo: Tim De Waele |
When to race
While you want to line up your race/peak phase with important races, that doesn’t mean you only race in that phase. In fact, you can race in any phase. Just remember to choose realistic goals.
Racing at the end of your base phase can be a great way to start your transition into race form, but you likely aren’t going to win. Use those races for training.
The bulk of your racing should be done during your build phase and your race/peak phase. While your best chance to win is in the latter phase, that doesn’t mean you can’t seek a result during the build phase.
Periodize your energy systems
A key tenant of periodization is targeting only a few aspects of your form at a time. The concern is that you may lose what you gained in one area as you focus on the next.
Fortunately, once an aspect of your form (and the corresponding energy system) has been developed, it takes significantly less work to maintain it. Regular repetition of short blocks ensures you never go too long without doing focused work in any one area.
These two facts allow for very specialized training of a few targets during each phase without having to worry about losing form.
The question is: What are the areas to target?
Our plan focuses on energy systems. We chose to target energy systems instead of types of work because our bodies don’t know the difference between sprinting and time trials. They simply respond to the call to produce the energy required for the activity. Physiologically, the energy system is what we overload and help adapt — not time trial form.
The major issue with this approach is that energy systems don’t fit as nicely into training methods. Most workouts (sprints, threshold intervals, etc.) stress multiple systems.
Tip 4: A TSS score doesn’t indicate which energy systems are stressed. It’s simply a measure of total stress. One of your most important responsibilities as an athlete is to make sure you are generating TSS with the right types of training and not just seek a high score through any means.
So, when deciding what to target, it can be important to combine energy systems that tend to get stressed together. For example, threshold work tends to also work our aerobic endurance system. So it makes sense to target lactate threshold and endurance together.
Likewise, top-end work such as VO2max intervals and sprints, while great for building our high-energy systems, also tend to work our lower energy systems. So, they are great during the season to build race form as well as to maintain the endurance honed during the base phase.
We defined seven energy systems for our plan:Aerobic endurance (E): This is the system we rely on for pure non-fatiguing aerobic work. It is defined by the efficiency and strength of our slow-twitch muscle fibers and our heart’s ability to deliver oxygenated blood. This system is maximally stressed at around 65 percent of our maximum heart rate. So, producing sufficient TSS doesn’t take intense work, just lots of time in zones 1 and some in zone 2.Aerobic threshold (AeT): While this is a subset of aerobic endurance, many pros have found benefits trying to train right at their aerobic threshold for several hours at a time. It raises the maximal power they can ride at without producing considerable fatigue. For road racers and, particularly, stage racers, this is a critical and often overlooked energy system. Imagine being able to spend three hours in a fast-paced peloton and finishing just as fresh as you started.Intra-threshold/lactate clearance (C): In the scientific literature, the range between our two thresholds is simply called our “threshold.” In this range, our bodies can achieve a steady state for a time but will ultimately fatigue. In the struggle to maintain balance, our bodies will rely on multiple energy systems. It makes training in this range controversial.
Steven Seiler, Ph.D. considers this area “no man’s land,” claiming it provides no additional gains over lower intensity aerobic endurance work and leads to burnout.
Dr. Andrew Coggan, however, refers to it as “sweet spot training” because of its ability to target many energy systems. And since it doesn’t produce the same damage as high-intensity intervals, sweet spot work can be done on multiple days in a row, producing a much greater training stress.
A few things are certain: We maximize our lactate clearance and fat burning in this range. We also spend a fair amount of time racing between the thresholds. So, at least some time training there seems warranted.Anaerobic/lactate threshold (T): Training our lactate threshold is so fundamental to endurance sports it’s been given over 20 different names and definitions — FTP, VT2, MLSS, and the list goes on. All are some variation on the maximum power we can produce in an aerobic steady state. More importantly, if you want a result, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time racing at that wattage. So, you need to spend substantial time training it.
Tip 5: Our anaerobic and aerobic thresholds tend to improve and detrain with one another. Training one helps the other. ey also take the longest to see substantial gains, making them good targets for your pre-season training.
Aerobic capacity/VO2max (I): We can still produce more power aerobically beyond our lactate threshold — we just can’t maintain a steady state. Our VO2max is simply our biggest aerobic output. A lab can help you find your VO2max power, but a 5-minute all-out effort is a good estimate. A major adaptation of training this system is to teach typically anaerobic muscle fibers to work aerobically.Anaerobic capacity (AC)/strength (S): Any work above VO2max is done entirely through anaerobic pathways. While cycling is an aerobic sport, you only need to spend that last few kilometers of a race trying to stay at the front of the field to understand the value of a well-developed anaerobic energy system.Neuromuscular recruitment (N): The ability to recruit your muscles in a synchronized firing pattern affects both your efficiency and economy, so you require less energy to produce the same power. Training neuromuscular recruitment aids all your energy systems.
Now that you’ve learned the fundamentals of training, it’s time to build your own training plan. For that, see Part 2, coming soon.For more training expertise, check out the VeloNews Fast Talk podcast. Fast Talk is available on all your favorite podcast services, including iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and Soundcloud.
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Winning La Course, the Boels Rentals Ladies Tour, and a world time trial title, Annemiek van Vleuten (Mitchelton-Scott) enjoyed the finest season of her career in 2017. With the calendar turned over to 2018, the Dutchwoman is aiming for an encore.
Putting together a strong campaign starts with the offseason and a winter of training. Van Vleuten has added an appearance at track worlds to her schedule, but beyond that, she’s sticking to the same routine that worked so well for her last year.
“I’m 35 and had a good season last year, so no reason to change something. Only, I’m targeting the world championships on the track, so that means my preparation will be slightly different,” van Vlueten told VeloNews in a phone interview from Australia last week. “But so far it’s the same. I had a holiday and started off the first month with some long endurance rides. I’ve done five weeks of training and now’s the Tour Down Under, so I don’t expect a great shape at the moment.”
Despite her low expectations, van Vleuten still managed to finish sixth overall at the Santos Women’s Tour this past week. Her teammate Amanda Spratt claimed the overall victory.
Van Vleuten is a contender on practically any parcours, but during the past season and a half she has emerged as an especially dangerous climber. She nearly rode to a gold medal at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, only to crash out of the race 11 kilometers from the line. Teammate Anna van der Breggen went on to win the race. Van Vleuten went to the hospital.
She recovered from the fall, however, and showed off her climbing prowess even more in her very impressive 2017 campaign.
Although her experience in Rio may appear to have been a catalyst for van Vleuten’s success, she insists her emergence as an uphill threat was simply a matter of adjusting her focus.
“A lot of people try to relate it, like after the crash I had an amazing season. But actually in the Olympic race season and on the Olympic day, I was already on a really good level,” she pointed out. “I don’t think the crash had anything to do with it. I saw the course in 2016 and realized that if I wanted to do anything, I needed to focus more on my climbing abilities and that made me into a rider that’s more capable of riding uphill. From then on, I stepped up.”
Her 2018 plans take Austria’s climber-friendly worlds profile into account.
“The Tour of Flanders will be my first big race, with other targets in the spring classics, like the Ardennes. Then the Giro d’Italia and the world championships. The world championships in Innsbruck is a course that really suits me,” she said.
“It’s very unique. It’s nice for the climbers. It’s a big chance for me to perform there really well. It’s a really selective course and that makes me even more motivated.”
Having spent a decade as a pro racer, van Vleuten acknowledges that she’s no spring chicken anymore. Given her recent string of successes, however, she’s enjoying the ride as much as ever. It probably helps that she has seen what she calls “huge” improvements in women’s cycling over the last 10 years. Although she says there’s still a long way to go, van Vleuten can trace significant progress from when she started racing.
“You see more crowds follow women’s cycling after the Rio Olympics, after the London Olympics. You see it more on television. Also at the Tour Down Under where I’m going now, I see that they step up every year and make it better and better,” she said. “People are following it and they ask now, they want to follow it on television. They are eager to follow it on social media. It’s big how it’s changing.
“It’s super nice for me to see, from 2008 with a lot of non-professional teams [and] now there are a lot of girls that get paid. Well, not a lot but way more than in 2008, when almost everyone had a job next to their cycling career. Now you see more and more girls can be full-time athletes. There’s still a lot to improve, because not everyone is a full-time athlete, but I think where we came from, from 2008, it’s good.”
Considering how much fun she’s having as one of the peloton’s top riders right now, van Vleuten isn’t planning to hang up the wheels any time soon. That’s a bit of a surprise even to her.
“I thought already in the London Olympics, ‘Oh, at Rio I’ll be 33 and then I’ll end my career and it’s time to do something else.’ But I still love it so much that stopping is not really on my mind yet. Especially the level I had last year makes me eager,” she said.
“I’m not really thinking about what to do after. But I’m sure it will be something in sports, that’s what I’m very passionate about, especially to work with young athletes.”
For now, it’s all about the racing for van Vleuten, who figures to be a rider to watch every time she pins on a number in 2018.
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FLORENCE, Italy (VN) — Giro d’Italia organizer RCS Sport may decide the fate of several teams Friday when it announces the wildcard invitations for the 2018 race.
Italy’s top organizer will select four Pro Continental teams to compete alongside the 18 WorldTour teams that have guaranteed places on the Giro’s start list.
For Italian teams, “it is everything” to race in the biggest race on their home soil. Not being included in the field risks the squads’ futures. More Giro newsDumoulin considering Giro-Tour double in 2018
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More Giro news
Dumoulin considering Giro-Tour double in 2018The Dutchman said he will make a final decision after the Italian grand tour in May.
“To race the Giro for an Italian team means securing sponsors for the next year and also for the current year. To have more security,” Wilier Triestina sport director Luca Scinto told VeloNews.
“As a professional continental team it’s everything for us. Then if you go and win a stage, it’s even better!”
The race, scheduled for May 4-27, will be the first grand tour to begin outside of Europe in Jerusalem. The deal, according to VeloNews sources, is to be worth 10 million euros for RCS Sport.
Recent strife in Jerusalem, however, may force the Giro to start elsewhere. Race director Mauro Vegni said last month RCS Sport is ready for a Plan B if that becomes necessary.
The four wildcard invitations will be delivered Friday. Given the start and the local organizer’s contribution, VeloNews understands that Team Israel Cycling Academy will receive one of the four. The squad includes American Tyler Williams and stars Ben Hermans and Rubén Plaza.
The remaining three selections appear headed to Italian teams Wilier Triestina, Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec, and either Nippo-Vini Fantini or Bardiani-CSF.
Ireland’s Aqua Blue Sport, which has U.S. road race champion Larry Warbasse on its roster, will not race, according to two sources close to the decision. After a 2017 debut season that included a Vuelta a España ride and stage win with Stefan Denifl, the team may not race in any of the three grand tours in 2018.
The Tour de France last week named its four wildcard teams for July: Belgium’s Wanty-Groupe Gobert and France’s Cofidis, Direct Energie, and Fortuneo-Samsic.
After years with Russia’s Gazprom and Poland’s CCC, RCS Sport’s selection will be Italian flavored. That is music to the ears of many teams struggling to continue each year in Italy, still crippled by the Eurozone crisis.
“These teams animate the racing the first week with escapes,” Scinto continued. “The WorldTour teams have other goals, overall classification and so on, but ours make a good show.”
The Wilier team includes one of Italy’s top stars, Filippo Pozzato. Pozzato struggled to find his best form in recent years, his last win coming in 2013, but he draws crowds and television cameras.
The two other invitations should land in the mailbox of Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec and Bardiani-CSF. Both come with baggage.
Bardiani built its reputation as the “green team” in Italy producing young talent. Sonny Colbrelli and Enrico Battaglin both graduated to ride for WorldTour squads.
On the eve of the 2017 Giro, however, two of the team’s riders — Niccola Ruffoni and Stefano Pirazzi — tested positive for human growth hormones. Given its history and the lack of options, Bardiani should still race.
“We’re not going to hide that we are slightly worried, given what happened at the start last year,” Bardiani-CSF sport director Roberto Reverberi said.
“The organization should take into consideration the 30 years of our team. Our team has nothing to do with [the positive tests] at all. Even in the big teams, it happens.”
If Bardiani is overlooked, the organizer could send the invitation to Nippo Vini Fantini-Europa Ovini. The team includes 2004 Giro champion Damiano Cunego who, like Pozzato, has not won lately. Cunego said he will retire at the end of May regardless of whether he competes in the Giro.
Androni missed the 2016 and 2017 editions but is certain for 2018 with its Italian Cup classification victory last season.
Some will celebrate Friday, but a blow, one with possible dire consequences, will be delivered from RCS Sport’s Milan headquarters to one unlucky team Friday.
As Androni’s sport director Alessandro Spezialetti put it, “being left out of our home tour is a big blow.”
Without the television publicity of the Giro and a chance to race in the other two grand tours, sponsorship funding could wither like a grape that’s been forgotten in Italy’s vineyards.
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Elia Viviani not only took his maiden victory of the 2018 season on Thursday but also scored the first victory of the season for his team, Quick-Step Floors, in Victor Harbor at the Santos Tour Down Under. Viviani joined Quick-Step Floors in the offseason from Team Sky.
Cheeky sprinting tactics from Caleb Ewan cost Mitchelton-Scott the victory, as it appeared Ewan thought his lead-out man, Alex Edmondson, was quick enough to take the stage, but that was not the case. Viviani came on strong in the end and Ewan started his sprint much too late to follow the Italian. Phil Bauhaus (Team Sunweb) finished second, as Ewan ended the day in third.
However, Ewan extended his lead in the general classification over his teammate Daryl Impey to 16 seconds. Jay McCarthy (Bora-Hansgrohe) sits third overall, 12-seconds behind.
Top 10, stage 3
1. Elia Viviani, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, in 03:04:40
2. Phil Bauhau, TEAM SUNWEB, at 0:00
3. Caleb Ewan, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:00
4. Simone Consonni, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:00
5. Peter Sagan, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 0:00
6. Simon Clarke, EF EDUCATION FIRST-DRAPAC, at 0:00
7. Alex Edmondson, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:00
8. Zakkari Dempster, UNISA, at 0:00
9. Dries Devenyns, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:00
10. Jay Mccarthy, BORA-HANSGROHE, at 0:00
Top 10 GC after stage 3
1. Caleb Ewan, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, in 07:54:00
2. Daryl Impey, MITCHELTON-SCOTT, at 0:10
3. Peter Sagan, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:12
4. Jay McCarthy, BORA – HANSGROHE, at 0:12
5. Nathan Haas, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 0:15
6. Jhonatan Restrepo, TEAM KATUSHA – ALPECIN, at 0:15
7. Elia Viviani, QUICK-STEP FLOORS, at 0:16
8. Simone Consonni, UAE-TEAM EMIRATES, at 0:16
9. Carlos Barbero, MOVISTAR TEAM, at 0:16
10. Anthony Roux, FDJ, at 0:16
Thursday’s third stage of the 2018 Santos Tour Down Under began in Glenelg and finished along the coast in Victor Harbor. The stage was originally slated to be 146.5 kilometers with three laps of 13 kilometers each around Victor Harbor, but extreme heat caused organizers to cut two of the finishing circuits, in the name of protecting the riders. Thus, the stage was only 120.5-kilometers long.
For the third day in a row, Scott Bowden (UniSA) and Nicholas Dlamini (Dimension Data) were in the breakaway. They were the only two riders to go up the road and the duo would build a maximum advantage of over five minutes before the sprinter teams took to the front of the peloton to keep the leaders in check.
Dlamini crossed the KOM point at Penny’s Hill Road (Cat. 1, 2.8km at 7.6%) after 38 kilometers of racing in first position to extend his lead in the King of the Mountains classification. At this point in the stage, the mercury had crept over the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark.
With 55 kilometers to go, Bowden was all alone in the lead as Dlamini dropped back to the peloton, which was led by Lotto Soudal. Greipel came to the Tour Down Under with good form, as he won the opening stage of the race on Tuesday. Wednesday’s stage was a bit too tough for The Gorilla to contest for the stage win, so he was looking for win number two of the 2018 race on Thursday.
The hot temperatures took its toll on the riders as the stage went on. The pace was not terribly fast for a flat stage like on Thursday. Bowden was broke back into the peloton with just under 20 kilometers to go. Although, the young rider on team UniSA wasn’t so much as chased down by the peloton, as he chose to sit up and go back to the bunch.
Tiago Machado (Katusha-Alpecin) attacked out of the peloton a few kilometers later and crossed the finish line to begin the 13-kilometer finishing circuit with a 15-second advantage over the peloton. Lotto Soudal and Mitchelton-Scott continued to do the bulk of the work at the front of the main bunch. Machado’s attack would be short-lived and he was brought back with eight kilometers to go.
The run-in to the finish was quick, as the circuit climbed inland, thus leaving a high-speed descent back to the coast where the finish line was located. Mitchelton-Scott seemed to have its tactics sorted out, as five riders were at the front of the peloton keeping the pace high for Ewan on the descent into Victor Harbor.
Inside the final kilometer, Mitchelton-Scott still controlled the peloton with Ewan sitting in third position. The final lead rider for the Aussie sprint phenom was newly crowned Australian national road race champion Edmondson. Edmondson sprinted hard on the front of the peloton and appeared to be charging to victory with Ewan on his wheel.
Ewan took a glance over his left shoulder as the finish line approached and saw a streak of blue powering toward the line. He quickly realized Edmondson would not hold on to take the stage win and he needed to sprint himself. Viviani came quickly though and got the jump on Ewan, giving him no shot at the victory. Ewan began his sprint late enough that he was also passed by Bauhaus right on the line.
A shake-up in the general classification could occur on Friday’s fourth stage of the Santos Tour Down Under from Norwood to Uradlia, as the only categorized climb of the day comes extremely late in the stage. The riders will summit the cat. 1 Norton Summit Road (5.8km @ 5%) with a mere 7.4 kilometers remaining. In a post-stage interview on Thursday, Ewan admitted he will probably lose the Ochre Leader’s jersey tomorrow and instead focus on Sunday’s final stage in downtown Adelaide. The penultimate stage of the 2018 Tour Down Under finishes atop the famed Old Willunga Hill.
Furthermore, Friday’s stage will start at 10:30 a.m. local time, an hour earlier than originally scheduled. This decision was made by race organizers because high temperatures are expected again.Full results to come
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Industry Nine (I9) is following the introduction of its new mountain bike Trail 270 wheelset with a new line of sectional carbon road wheels that it hopes will make the premium brand a more significant option for road cyclists. The 24-hole, disc-brake wheels come in three depths: 35mm, 45mm, and 65mm. The rims all have a 21mm inner width and are tubeless ready. As with I9’s mountain wheels, you can select the hub and spoke nipple colors to match your bike and even customize the graphics. Because I9’s wheels are built to order, the rims can be mixed if you want a different depth for the front and rear rims.
The new I9 wheels come in three depths. The middle depth I9.45 is the company's all-around profile meant to do it all. Photograph courtesy of Industry Nine
The team at I9 says they have been working on the design of the wheels for over two years at the brand's Asheville, North Carolina, headquarters. The three rim shapes were designed in house by I9, and are manufactured by Reynolds. The new rims have relatively wide inner widths and a more compliant construction to deliver what the company hopes is the best ride possible with wider tires. In wind tunnel tests, the company claims the wheels performed competitively to Zipp’s 303 and 404 wheels in aerodynamics and cross-wind handling.
Based on the success of its I9’s mountain bike wheels, the brand could become a strong option for riders seeking high-performance aerodynamic road wheels. We have some of the new hoops and will publish an in-depth review soon.
The I9.35 is the slimmest of the bunch, and also the lightest.
Photograph courtesy of Industry Nine
I9.35: What You Need to Know
35mm deep
1,355 grams
These new wheels are made for tires between 23mm and 28mm—ideal for all-day, everyday riding. Photograph courtesy of Industry Nine
I9.45: What You Need to Know
45mm deep
1,495 grams
Industry Nine says the aero profile of the I9.65 reduces drag, but also handles well in cross-winds. Photograph courtesy of Industry Nine
I9.65: What You Need to Know
65mm deep
1,555 grams
Watch the new I9 road wheels in action: