Archive for July, 2017

5 Keys to Training for Epic and Extreme Multisport Races

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The popularity and number of extreme triathlons are growing fast. Isklar Norseman, CeltMan, Swissman, and even extreme swim/run events like the Ötillö World Series are given teams and individuals the opportunity to push themselves in demanding terrain and exotic locations.

There is even a new Xtri World Tour, which includes Norseman, Celtman, Swissman, among several others.

Like many of these extreme multisport races, the Xtri World Tour has a rigid selection process or a lottery to enter. The waiting lists are long and the number of participants is limited (for example, both Norseman and Swissman accept only 250 athletes). Given this high demand, we can expect further growth of extreme races in the future.

The Definition of Extreme

So what makes a triathlon or multisport race “extreme?”  It can be its elevation profile, terrain, the expected weather conditions—and often it is all three.

Even one of these factors can double the duration of average IRONMAN, and triple the suffer score.

Being at elevation adds to the finish time as well: My estimate is that each 1,000m of elevation can add between 30 and 60 minutes to your overall time.

Steep inclines mean more gravity, more fatigue and subsequently can lead to significant slowing down of race pace. You can run up a 4 to 5 percent hill at between 10 and 11km/h, but you definitely have to walk a 15 to 20 percent grade hill at sometimes as slow as 2.5-3 km/hr. This looks and feels like crawling, especially if it is on a technically challenging mountain trail.

One of the most famous and desperately sought after extreme triathlons, is undoubtedly the Isklar Norseman. Its organizers claim that it is “Simply the ultimate triathlon on planet Earth.”

In addition to +5,235m (17,175 ft) of elevation, the harsh and cold weather conditions in Norway, swimming in 13C to 15C (55F to 60F) fjord water combine to make it a truly extreme and punishing experience for human physiology.

There is also the Swissman—which I finished on June 24th—and I can attest that it truly deserves its extreme label. The course takes you over three major mountain passes (two of them are “Hors Catégory”) with a total elevation of +3,500m (11,483 ft).

Crossing the south-north weather divide in the Alps, the Swissman marathon finishes at 2,061m (6,762 ft) with a total elevation gain of +1,800m (5,905 ft) on the run.

This race takes you from the almost tropical, southern, Italian-speaking part of Switzerland to snowy mountains—weather-wise I experienced all four seasons within a single day.

In addition, most Xtris are self-supported races and each athlete is required to have a supporter (or a whole crew) who will feed her and drive behind her with spare bike parts and several changes of clothes, food and drink.

On the last 10 to 20km of the run, which takes you away from civilization and roads, the supporter is required to run/walk with the athlete to the finish. This makes the entire race not only a physical challenge, but a logistical challenge as well.

So, how should one train for an extreme triathlon? Here are the five most important skills you need to master before you attempt an extreme multisport race:

Develop Fatigue Resistance

It takes a very strong athlete to complete an iron-distance, extreme triathlon: they must be physically strong, emotionally resilient and mentally focused. All of this can be trained.

The main method to achieve this is with hard interval training with a very high number of short and intensive reps to be completed under a pressure of a fixed time. Example sessions:

Swim: 50x100m with paddles and pull buoy on 1:45

Bike: One hour of three minute max power hill repeats with  one minute rest in between each

Run: 50x200m on one minute

The idea is to keep the pace and not to slow down: The winner in all extreme and ultra-endurance races is the one who slows down the least.

Fatigue resistance is also trained in multiple short sessions per day, where we train without being fully recovered (but recovered enough to avoid injury), and through all variations of bricks: bike-swim-bike, bike-run, swim-run-bike or even biking to and from work.

What is key is to become aware of your inner voice and internal dialog during hard sessions and being able to train it to become your internal motivation coach (and maybe a drill sergeant sometimes when necessary!).

Develop Power Endurance

Racing in mountains requires a consistently high power output to create enough propulsion to go uphill fast (or just go uphill)—against increased gravity and resistance. This is why all endurance training for an extreme event absolutely has to have a power component to it in order to develop specific muscle strength.

Swim: Up to 60 to 70 percent of the swim training should be done with paddles to develop swim strength and to encourage you to get out of water fresh.

Bike:  You should push big gears when riding on flat roads, as well as up to 5 percent-grade hills. At least once per week, do hill repeats and once or twice a week do max power turbo trainer sessions These are relatively short compared to the race mileage,  but they are very effective when looking to develop power.

Run: At least once per week we do hill repeats. Do as many reps of 15 to 90 seconds of uphill sprints with high but not max intensity. Do your long runs in a hilly area, or if you need to simulate hilly conditions, you can run on a treadmill to simulate the race profile.

Develop Weather Resistance

This is rather an individual skill, since people have different sensitivity to hot and cold weather conditions. Although Norseman is always won by Norwegians, who are well adapted to cold and wet weather, everyone can become better adapted through specific training and nutrition.

Training in bad weather conditions and learning how to dress strategically is something everyone can do, but it takes overcoming a lot of mental resistance.

I’ve found that when you do train in what you qualify as “bad weather,” you’ll likely notice at the end of the workout that it wasn’t as bad as you thought it would be. It is important to remember that when you are thinking about not going out when it is rainy, cold or windy.

This is why weather resistance is also a mental skill; your mental strength can take you through the most horrible weather. Nutrition plays an important part too: Fat adapted athletes with well-developed fat metabolism seem to handle cold weather better. They kind of go in “winter mode” and switch to lipid energy production, which keeps them warmer compared to the average athlete.

Develop a Fat Adaption Plan

As I just mentioned, fat-adapted athletes have an advantage in ultra long races, and this advantage can be a critical one. After 10+ hours of racing in harsh conditions, your stomach will no longer be able to digest the 60 to 80 grams of carbs per hour that you are trying to get in.

Your digestive system will eventually need a break, during which you might bonk if you are not fat adapted, or it may simply shut down because all your blood and physical and cardiac capacity will go into the working muscles and maintenance of brain function.

Extreme racing is 100 percent aerobic, and you need to develop a mixed-metabolism to provide your body with enough energy. You will need to be able to oxidize both carbs and fat during the race, so that you eat less but still can perform using your fat reserves as fuel.

This takes dedicated training (a lot of fasted runs and rides) and nutrition with a high fat percentage in your race preparation so that you can continue this type of fueling during the race itself.

Additionally, knowing what, when and how much to eat is absolutely critical in an extreme or ultra race. It has to be meticulously planned and trained, and and even more importantly, you have to have enough focus and concentration to be able to execute your nutrition strategy during the race even when things get tough.

Develop a Strong Support System

You cannot finish an extreme triathlon without a supporter! First, it is a mandatory requirement from race organizers—you fully rely on your supporter to provide you with food and drink and several changes of clothing.

They are essentially your Sherpa and North Star for the day:  They set up and dismantle your transition zones, carry your gear, pushes you over the last hill, and helps you if there is a technical problem.

But most importantly, your supporter is your mental and emotional bond, your positive charge and your motivator when the going gets hard. These selfless heroes might actually have a harder job than you—so be grateful for them!

Racing an extreme event is an unforgettable experience for the participant, but what makes it even more special is being able to share it with your support system as well.

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How to use HRV Training to Identify Weaknesses

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Just as we routinely measure and capture multiple aspects of a workout, there are also multiple aspects that characterize recovery. There are several factors that contribute to the speed of recovery, most notably sleep, diet (including hydration) and the absence of mental and emotional sources of stress. HRV can be a valuable way to track many of these recovery factors.

Tracking workouts
Tracking recovery

Miles
Power
Heart rate
Intensity Factor
TSS

Resting heart rate
Heart rate variability (HRV)
Reaction times
Perception of fatigue, mood and soreness

Whereas heart rate (HR) measures the average number of heartbeats in one minute, heart rate variability (HRV1) assesses the differences in timing of each individual heartbeat, controlled by the body’s autonomic nervous system.

HRV is a much more sensitive measure than resting heart rate for understanding recovery, and is usually measured first thing in the morning to provide an indication of readiness to train for the coming day.

HRV is an inclusive, individualized and objective measure of stress. How HRV changes over time can provide important clues as to which lifestyle factors are the most influential to any given individual.

Understanding this and making adjustments accordingly allows for the greatest amount of training and therefore the biggest stimulus for adaptation of the body without it breaking down.

At the last count, there were more than 21,000 published papers on heart rate variability, including multiple studies looking at how the various lifestyle and recovery factors influence HRV.

Recovery Factors
1. Sleep

It’s a well documented that good, quality sleep is a key recovery enabler. However, what is not widely recognized is the relationship between sleep and HRV. A higher HRV baseline, HRV before bedtime and smaller dips due to daily stress lead to better quality, restful sleep.

2. Diet

Finding a diet that provides an acceptable combination of appropriate fueling for training, essential micronutrients for health, as well as one which is enjoyable enough to sustain can take decades. What works for one person may not suit another.

One universally beneficial supplement is Omega-3 fish (or krill) oil. Omega-3 fatty acids have multiple beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system including stabilising heart rhythm, raising HRV and reducing the occurrence of arrhythmias. Tracking diet compliance in relation to HRV can help you understand how your body responds to different nutrition.

3. Stress

Professor Stephen Porges describes HRV as “an index of stress and vulnerability to stress.” Acute stressors including workout sessions reduce HRV, with the amount and duration of reduction being proportional to the workload (e.g. TSS).

The body is well equipped to deal with short-term stresses, and gets stronger during recovery once the stress has been removed. A higher HRV baseline signals greater resilience, with the body then able to handle larger and more frequent stressors.

In short, if you manage your recovery well and improve your baseline you will be better able to manage stress and benefit from workouts, and in doing so will improve performance.

Subjective Factors
1. Fatigue

Researchers monitoring workload and fatigue in professional cyclists during the Tour of Spain found a negative relationship between acute training load (ATL) and HRV, especially during the third week of the event. For amateurs, non-training stressors, such as work and family life are also likely to affect both perceptions of fatigue and HRV to a significant extent.

2. Muscle soreness

Research has yet to find a solid relationship between training-induced muscle soreness and HRV. The good news is that with HRV in the normal (±1 SD) range, identified with a green light in ithlete, stiffness is likely to disappear within 30 minutes of warming up and starting exercise, allowing you to complete important sessions with confidence.

3. Mood

Perhaps surprisingly, there is a very solid body of research linking HRV and mood states, and we often see a high correlation in users’ data. Clinically, persistent low mood state and depression are strongly associated with reduced HRV.

Conversely, activities that enhance HRV such as meditation, yoga, slow deep breathing and of course exercise, significantly improve mood state.

dentify Weaknesses

Throughout this post, ‘HRV’ is used to refer to breathing-rate high frequency beat to beat heart rate variations measured over a short (one to five minute) period using measures such as RMSSD, SD1 and HF.

References

High-frequency heart rate variability during worry predicts stress-related increases in sleep disturbances. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25819418
Billman GE, Harris WS.  “Effect of dietary omega-3 fatty acids on the heart rate and the heart rate variability responses to myocardial ischemia or submaximal exercise” Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Jun;300(6):H2288-99.
Relation between physical exertion and heart rate variability characteristics in professional cyclists during the Tour of Spain. C P Earnest, R Jurca, T S Church, J L Chicharro, J Hoyos and A Lucia. Br. J. Sports Med. 2004;38;568-575 doi:10.1136/bjsm.2003.005140
Heart Rate Variability as a Predictor of Negative Mood Symptoms Induced by Exercise Withdrawal. ALI A. WEINSTEIN1, PATRICIA A. DEUSTER1, and WILLEM J. KOP

Overtraining symptoms

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Coach’s Desk: The Lost Art of the Training Diary

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Today there is a device to measure nearly anything imaginable from power and heart rate to sleep hours and steps per day. Many of these devices sync with TrainingPeaks automatically through Bluetooth or Wifi.

Despite this massive increase in accountability, we have found that getting athletes to consistently leave comments has become a major pain point for many coaches. In fact, in a recent review of workouts uploaded to TrainingPeaks by coached athletes, we found that less than 25 percent of them included post workout comments!

So this month we turned to some coaches who recognize the importance of athlete feedback and asked them, “How do you stress the importance of keeping a training diary and leaving good post workout comments in TrainingPeaks to your athletes?”

Simon Kessler

“Keeping good, consistent notes in a training diary is about learning over time how your body responds to the training and what worked and did not work in terms of training, warm-up, pre race/ride routine, nutrition, recovery plan etc.

By keeping good notes one can go back and see from past notes what worked when you had a breakthrough ride or your best race. This makes it easier to replicate what worked for a future racing or a training goal.

When you keep good notes, it also allows your coach to understand better how you managed the training session, as well as your mental and physical state. As a coach I always look at my athletes comments first. An athlete who keeps detailed, consistent notes gives his or her coach the ability to provide for the athlete a higher level of service and customization.

In return, as a coach I like to offer encouragement for a training session well done and also point out in a constructive way what could have possibly been done better. The tone of the comments should always be positive and constructive, even if the athlete fell short on the workout.

I like to use the comments as a way to educate my athletes on TrainingPeaks and the different mathematical models that are used to evaluate their training. The comments can be a platform to have a conversation about the training session with the athlete.

I will often ask a question to my client in the TrainingPeaks comments and they will respond to my question in the comments as well. This works very well to have a specific conversation about the training session and provides greater detail for future reference.”

Andy Kirkland

“Like most questions in coaching, the answer is ‘it depends.’ This is a particularly complex question which cannot be answered through a few top-tips. Rather, the solution lies in your coaching philosophy and the needs and wants of your clients.

For many of us, our clients are people with sufficient disposable income to pay for a coach. That means that they’re around 40-years old, have a good career, and aren’t the best at changing their behaviour.

Our job is to bring efficiencies to their training whilst maintaining a coach-athlete relationship that results in our pay-check arriving. In such circumstances, it’s best for us to chill and not worry too much about the level of feedback provided.

This dynamic changes when working with elite athletes. The physiological adaptation process is dependent on achieving a stress balance in training and life. Training Stress Score (TSS) provides me with around 10 percent of the feedback I need to plan their training, while their feedback gives me the remaining 90 percent.

Without quality feedback, things will invariably ‘hit the fan.’ When they do, that’s the time to strike. I will pull the ‘wise old coach face’ and say ‘if only you had given me quality feedback.’

This can be the catalyst for behaviour change in athletes who are wholly committed to being the best.”

Katee Pedicini

“I feel the main reason athletes don’t write notes comes down to two key things;

They forget or rush off to do other things so when they do write notes later on, they have forgotten how the session actually felt which waters down the effectiveness of the notes.
They don’t know what information is relevant or valuable so they either write nothing or write something useless, for example how bad the traffic was on the way to their workout.

With this in mind, I put a few action steps in place for my athletes:

When talking to a prospective athlete I’ve learned that as much as they are interviewing me for the role as their coach, I too need to interview them to ensure they are the right fit for my coaching style.

As such I always discuss the need for notes and communication in an initial consultation. So I ask them: ‘The best way to get the most out of this coaching relationship is to communicate regularly and write post training notes—is this something you are willing to do and see yourself doing?’

I’ve also developed some blog posts in relation to my coaching style and how to get the most out of individualised or personalised coaching.

When an athlete starts with me or starts to drop the ball on notes, I shoot them these blog links as a friendly reminder.

I prompt post-training notes in each session within TrainingPeaks and suggest writing their notes while cooling down or eating their post-training meal.

I feel it’s important to communicate WHAT information is valuable to me from athletes. This avoids no notes, useless notes or too much information.

To communicate this, I provide my athletes with a post-training notes guide that spells out the key areas of the session I would like them to pay attention to and report back on. These include mental resilience, perceived effort, niggles and so forth.”

Nate Wilson

“The first step to getting my athletes to leave daily comments in TrainingPeaks is to convince them that I am not as smart as my glasses make me appear. I explain to my athletes that quantitative data is great, but at the end of the day no number can tell me what their subjective feeling was.

Additionally, often in competition performance, the limiter may be something that doesn’t show up in a number—from poor tactics to poor pre-race nutrition—and anything in between.

Only with their feedback can I actually paint a complete picture and narrow down where we need to work to improve performance. The second step is to convince my athletes that leaving comments will help them, not just help me.

Having a diary of your past performances, how you felt in a certain workout, how you coped with a certain travel pattern—it all is massively valuable. Most athletes have lots of repeats year to year, whether it’s a summer vacation with family, a race that they did the prior year, or whatever.

Having some notes to look back on so that the event (and not just the mistakes) are in one place is one of the most valuable tools to elicit improved performance. Experience beats watts more times than people would think!”

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How to Master Training with Power in 6 Easy Steps

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For cyclists and triathletes, training with power is likely the most effective way to maximize results. Why? Power meters and the data they provide remove a lot of the guesswork from training by supplying precise, accurate information for accurate measurement of training intensity and load, unlike heart rate training or rate of perceived exertion (RPE) training.

Power Training vs. RPE

Even when athletes recognize that power training offers significant benefits, many of them are apprehensive about jumping into the power-training game because they’ve heard it’s complex and they aren’t sure they have the knowledge or technical skills to get the most out of it.

I’d like to make it easier. Here are a few simple steps to get started with power training and how to better understand the entire power training process.

Step 1: Ride with power

The first thing your should do after you buy a new power meter is set up your head unit with some key metrics to track. I suggest setting power, heart rate, and speed to display on the screen.

And then just ride, observe and record. That’s all you should do for two to four weeks. Don’t change anything about your riding or training yet. Simply observe and begin to quantify your efforts.

Be sure to record all your workouts, no matter how small. It’s pretty simple to automate the recording and uploading process, and these records will become your data diary and will be highly useful in the future.

This first step gives you time to get a feeling for the relationship between power and effort, along with a basic understanding of the quantification of training. If you went up a short hill, did it feel hard? Your power meter now gives a number for “hard.” Hard for you might be 450 watts or 600 watts. Soft pedal down the other side of the hill and watch how many watts that generates.

Step 2: Test your Power

Once you’ve ridden with your power meter for a few weeks, the next step is testing. Power training focuses a lot on FTP testing, but it’s also important (especially when starting out) to test a range of targets that align with different areas of your physiology.

I recommend the following four tests:

five-second max: This test gives us an idea of your Neuromuscular (sprint) Power.
one-minute test: This tests your Anaerobic Capacity (AC), which is how hard and how long you can go over threshold without resting.
five-minute test: This test gives insight into your VO2max, which is the maximal amount of oxygen your body can transport and absorb (your “maximal aerobic capacity”).
20-minute test: This provides an estimate of your Functional threshold Power (FTP), which is the highest power you can maintain in a quasi-steady state without fatiguing. To estimate your FTP, use 95 percent of your average power for the 20-minute test. As you become more familiar with power training in the future, I suggest you complete a full 40km race-pace test.

When getting started, keep the testing protocol simple. I recommend a two-day testing format like this:

Day 1: Complete a good warm-up of 15 to 30 minutes, with a few one-minute, fast pedaling efforts to wake everything up. Once you’re warm, complete two x 10-second maximal sprints (we will use the peak five seconds from the sprint).

This is best done in the small chainring and mid-cassette gear, so maybe 53-16 or 50-14. Rest for a full five to seven minutes between sprint efforts. Once you complete these efforts, ride casually for 10 to 15 minutes, then find a slight hill with no interruption and complete a maximum effort one-minute test.

Go as hard as you can from the start and push all the way to one full minute. Finish up with a cool-down period of 10 to 15 minutes of easy riding.

Day 2: Complete a good warm-up of 15 to 30 minutes with a few one-minute fast pedaling efforts to wake everything up. Once you’re fully warmed up, find a slight hill with no interruption and do a maximal five-minute test, starting hard, but not too hard.

Once this effort is done, recover by riding 15 minutes of easy pedaling, then start your 20-minute maximal test. Terrain is a challenge for most of us, but try to find a road (preferably a climb) that allows you to go hard for 20 minutes with minimal interruptions. Don’t start too hard, and pace yourself. Cool down for 10 to 15 minutes when done.

Once both days of testing are done, load all your data into your TrainingPeaks account for analysis.

Step 3: Build a Power Profile

Each athlete is unique and therefore generates a unique power profile. Your personal power profile gives insight into your training needs by identifying your comparative strengths and limiters.

Take a look at the Power Profile Chart in your TrainingPeaks account to see areas where you compare better or worse against the database of riders.

This comparison gives insight into your strengths and limiters, revealing potential areas of training focus. The old adage “Train your weakness, race your strengths” is a pretty good place to start as you begin to think about training to improve your performance.

For an even more detailed power profile, use TrainingPeaks’ WKO4 software to review your entire power-duration curve.

Step 4: Set your Training Zones

Once you’ve estimated your FTP as 95 percent of your 20-minute maximal test, you can set your training levels in TrainingPeaks. Log into your account, click on your name, select Settings, click “Zones” at the left, and scroll down to Power.

In the auto calculation section, choose Threshold Power in the first dropdown and Andy Coggan (6) in the second, and then click “Calculate.” Your new training zones are set up and targeted. Make sure you save the changes before you close the window.

Dr. Andrew Coggan designed a set of training zones (or levels) to identify different areas of an athlete’s physiology, allowing us to plan specific time and intensity into workouts to gain the improvements we want in those specific physiological demands. These zones are now referred to as the Coggan Classic Zones.

Take a look the diagram below and notice the relationship between intensity and time. For most people starting out with power, it takes a bit of trial and error to figure this out, but efficient training is all about the right intensity for the right length of time.


Step 5: Plan your Training

Not having a plan is a plan to fail! Now that you’ve got the basics down, you need to build a plan. All good training plans have this equation at their core: “Ability of the rider vs. demands of the event.”

Now that you have power data and a power profile, you already have a good idea of your ability as a rider and how you compare to the world, so you can move on to consider the demands of your event. Each event has unique demands, as you can imagine; there’s a dramatically different demand for a road race compared to an IRONMAN, and each one needs a specific training plan for success.

Hiring a good coach or investing in a quality training plan are great ways to jump start this process, but you can also try to plan your own training using one of these two parameters:

Ability of the rider: A simple starting point is to use your power profile and focus on your limiters. At the core off all good training is the development of your aerobic engine, but adding two to four days of limiter focus in each training microcycle (typically 21 to 28 days) can really help you improve.

Demands of the event: This is easier than you think! Do your research first and know the details of the event. How long is it? What’s the terrain like? Are there any big climbs? What are the technical demands?

The answers to these questions and any additional data you can find will help you plan your training. If your big event features a steady climb that typically takes about 15 minutes, you need to make sure you’re doing workouts to improve your steady-state climbing for that time range. Similarly, if your event includes a series of rolling power climbs, build your training to prepare you to power over those climbs.

TrainingPeaks.com has an excellent Annual Training Plan feature that is a great tool to use if you chose to create your own plan.

Step 6: Track and Test

Track all your data and review it at least once per week. Look for insights such as improving numbers, better performance and/or decline. Learn to cross reference your data in areas of training load and performance; this will add deeper insight into how your training is affecting your performance.

Testing is one of the most important things for an athlete new to power. I recommend that you repeat the test protocol every four to six weeks and track your results. If you’re training correctly, you should see improvements, specifically in the targeted areas.

These steps are a simple outline of the process and should be a great roadmap for any beginner. I recommend that you read Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Dr. Andy Coggan and Hunter Allen, as well as Joe Friel’s The Power Meter Handbook.

If you’re interested in digging even deeper into power training knowledge, TrainingPeaks offers a full online education and certification program that teaches both the fundamentals and some advanced techniques of power training.

Interested in learning more about WKO4 software? Download your free 14-day trial here.

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Stage 19-20 Power Analysis: Rigoberto Urán’s Road to Glory

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Many thanks to Dig Deep Coaching’s Philipp Diegner for his work on this analysis and infographics.

The final three stages of the Tour defined what was a magnificent showing for Team Cannondale-Drapac, and solidified Chris Froome’s fourth Yellow Jersey. Let’s take a look at the last critical stages of the Tour: the long recovery of Stage 19 where Urán’s teammates skillfully shielded him, and the all-out effort (and nail-biting finish!) of Urán during the Stage 20 TT.

Stage 19 – Longest Stage and Recovery Time for the Field
Embrun – Salon-de-Provence, 222.5km

A large break of 20 riders dominated the longest stage of the Tour after being let go on the first climb after 25 kilometers. They fought hard for the stage win in the final, while the peloton settled into a very moderate tempo as everyone was anticipating the time trial that would follow on the next day. Compared to the previous three weeks of racing, Stage 19 had only one climb—the Col Lebraut, no doubt a welcome change as the rider’s prepared for Saturday’s final speed test in Marseilles.

Overall Data Stage 19

Rigoberto Urán (Col)

Cannondale-Drapac

46th +11:43

Nathan Brown (Usa)

Cannondale-Drapac

51st +11:43

Dylan van Baarle (Ned)

Cannondale-Drapac

49th +11:43

Duration: 5:18:36

Speed: 41.9kph

Average Power: 157w, 2.53w/kg

Normalized Power: 200w, 3.23w/kg

10min Peak Power: 310w, 5.00w/kg

Duration: 5:18:36

Speed: 41.9kph

Training Load: 251 TSS

Average Power: 209w, 3.22w/kg

Normalized Power: 261w, 4.02w/kg

Duration: 5:18:36

Speed: 41.9kph

Training Load: 255 TSS

Average Power: 237w, 3.04w/kg

Normalized Power: 300w, 3.85w/kg

Click on the image below to see Urán’s SRM Power File:

Rigoberto Uran Stage 19 File

Click image below to see Nathan Brown’s SRM Power File:

Nathan Brown Stage 19 Power File

Click on the image below to see van Baarle’s SRM Power File:

Dylan van Baarle Stage 19 File

This first KOM required high power outputs from all the riders. Looking at the discrepancy between Brown and Van Baarle vs. Urán on the climb, it is visible how effective the duo protected their Colombian captain.

With 395w, 6.08w/kg and 441w, 5.65w/kg they had to work hard while Urán in their shadow could stay at tempo intensity at 307w, 4.95w/kg. Teamwork in cycling at its best! Urán’s 10 minute peak power was 5.00w/kg—a low number compared to the previous stages.

Col Lebraut (5.1km at 5.5%) – KM26

Time / Speed
Power
Power-to-Weight

Rigoberto Urán
11:00 / 28.3kph
307w
4.95w/kg

Nathan Brown
11:01 / 27.9kph
395w
6.08w/kg

Dylan Van Baarle
11:33 / 26.4kph
441w
5.65w/kg

The rest of the stage caused no difficulty for the whole team. No one was willing to take up the chase of the breakaway and consequently, the pace was very moderate.

For Urán, that meant 187w, 3.02w/kg for 4:42 hours. In the end, the field arrived in Salon-de-Provence, 12:27 minutes behind stage winner Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data).

The GC riders jumped on the opportunity of taking it easy for once and with the help of his teammates, the Colombian contender would save a lot of energy going into the critical time trial.

Stage 20 – The decisive time trial in Marseille
Marseille, 22.5km

A 22.5km time trial in the centre of Marseille would decide the race. The stage was set for a real showdown as Chris Froome (Team Sky), Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Urán went into the 20th day with just 29 seconds separating them.

The course featured a 1.1km-long climb with a 10 percent gradient, maxing out at 16 to 17 percent. This made it a very challenging TT course. Depending on their day’s form, riders could gain or lose significant time. With the top-three riders still less than 30 seconds apart, the race for Yellow was still very open!

Rigoberto Urán (Cannondale-Drapac) – Overall Data Stage 20 – 8th Place +0:31

Time: 28:46
Speed: 46.9kph
Average Power: 378w, 6.00w/kg
Normalized Power: 389w, 6.17w/kg

Click on the image below to see Urán’s SRM Power File:

Uran Stage 20 TT File

Urán pulled off an amazing performance that was good for eighth place in the stage—and most importantly it allowed him to move up to second overall.

He was 1:31 minutes faster than his French rival Romain Bardet, despite misjudging the last corner and bumping into the barriers. Without this small but inconsequential mistake, he could have finished in the top-five on the day.

This is the first time that a major Tour de France contender publishes his power data in a time trial. Thanks to the Colombian star rider and his team Cannondale-Drapac, the data provides unique insights into the ability of professional cyclists at the highest level.

Urán’s Time Trial – 6w/kg for 29 Minutes

Urán’s power over the course of the time trial was absolute world-class. With 378w, 6.00w/kg average power and 389w, 6.17w/kg normalized power, he rode at his limit for 28:46 minutes. He paced his effort very well, not going out too hard out of the gate and saving energy for the steep climb 15km into the course.

With 371w, he passed the first time-check at 12:19 minutes and lost 24 seconds to Chris Froome on these first 10.2km. What could have been perceived as a bad day, soon turned out to be strategy, when Urán started to improve both his effort and placing.

The next sector featured the climb to Notre-Dame de la Garde and it was here that the Colombian put out his best effort. He covered the sector in 8:23 minutes—the second fastest time of the day—riding at 401w, 6.37w/kg and regaining six seconds on Froome.

Most impressive was the climb itself: He flew up the 1.1km-long ascent with 20 kph average speed on a 10 percent gradient. To achieve this, he produced 457w for 3:16 minutes—7.25w/kg! This is even more remarkable, considering that the effort was produced not from a rested state but after riding for 15 minutes at 6w/kg.

On the last 6.9km, Urán was still going well and on the way to a top-five result, when he overshot the last corner going into the stadium where the finish was located. He bumped into the barrier and came to a halt, losing 10-12 seconds and finally finishing eighth, 31 seconds down on the stage winner Maciej Bodnar (Bora-Hansgrohe).

Uran's Final TT Approach

He averaged 364w for the last eight minutes. This number is deflated, however, because the segment included a 2km-long downhill, where the effort had to be reduced and the riders had to navigate a few tight corners. Once he reached the flat part, Urán ramped up his effort and put out 411w, 6.52w/kg on the next 3.5km.

Even after his mistake in the last corner, he accelerated hard and sprinted over the line with 485w for 26 seconds, peaking at 745w! The final time: 28:46 minutes at an average speed of 46.9kph!

Stage 20 – Time Split Analysis

Rider
Chrono 1
Chrono 2
Chrono 3
Result

Rigoberto Urán – 8th

(Cannondale-Drapac)

12:19

49.7kph

371w

8:23

38.67kph

401w

8:04

51.3kph

364w

28:46

46.9kph

378w

Roman Kreuziger – 65th

(Orica-Scott)

12:42

48.2kph

373w

9:15

35.0kph

386w

8:37

48.0kph

323w

30:34

41.2kph

363w

Chris Froome – 3rd

(Team Sky)

11:55

51.4kph

8:29

38.2kph

7:57

52.1kph

28:21

47.6kph

Orica-Scott Performance

Roman Kreuziger (Orica-Scott) – Overall Data Stage 20 – 65th +2:19

Time: 30:34
Speed: 44.2kph
Average Power: 363w, 5.42w/kg
Normalized Power: 378w, 5.64w/kg

Click on the image below to see Kreuziger’s Power File:

Roman Kreuziger Stage 20 TT

Roman Kreuziger finished mid-field in 65th position. He took less risks in corners and on the descent but produced good power at times, 363w for the whole stage (378w, 5.64w/kg normalized). With a five-minute peak power of 416w, 6.21w/kg and 455w, 6.79w/kg on the climb, he showed that his form is still good.

A more than solid 24th place in the general classification in the Tour is the Czechs’ reward. He will race the Clásica San Sébastian next, a race he was won in 2009 and finished third in 2013. With his current form and some rest, he could be in for a great result.

Performance Conclusions

A time trial with a length between 20km and 30km is the perfect test of individual cycling ability. Urán proved on stage 20 that he has been one of the strongest riders in the Tour de France 2017.

The power he produced after three weeks and more than 3,000km in the saddle was very impressive—a well-deserved second place in the GC.

This amazing performance was partly due to Cannondale’s great teamwork throughout the Tour, protecting Urán whenever they could, combined with the very intelligent race tactics of the Colombian.

He only attacked at critical moments and rode very well-measured, never expending more energy than necessary: Experience and race intelligence are important success factors for GC riders.

Highlight efforts on the way to 2nd overall

(with time difference to Chris Froome)

Time / Speed
Power
Power-to-Weight

Stage 3

Final Climb

1.7km 5.7%

3:18 / 30.9kph

Result: 19th

same time

475w
7.55w/kg

Stage 5

La Planche des Belles Filles

5.9km 8%

16:37 / 21.3kph

Result: 7th

+0:06

380w
6.03w/kg

Stage 8

Mont du Chat

8.0km 10.1%

29:28 / 16.2kph
343w
5.44w/kg

Stage 8

Final Sprint

450m in Chambéry

32s / 53.5kph

Result: Stage Win

-0:10

861w

Max Power: 1189w

13.70w/kg

Stage 13

Mur de Péguères

3.4km 11.8%

13:32 / 15.0kph

Result: 10th

same time

373w
5.92w/kg

Stage 15

Col de Peyra

8.35km 7.1%

22:33 / 22.2kph

Result: 29th

same time

415w*

Hardest climb of the Tour

6.59w/kg

Stage 20

Marseille Time Trial

22.5km

28:46 / 46.9kph

Result: 8th

+0:25

378w
6.00w/kg

Stage 20

Notre-Dame de la Garde climb 1.1km 10%
3:16 / 20.0kph
457w
7.25w/kg

Examining the evolution of the time difference between eventual Tour winner Froome and Urán, the Colombian lost 51 seconds in the first time trial in Düsseldorf and finished 54 seconds down in Paris.

He came out of the mountains in a better place than he was in after eight stages. It was a very close Tour, and Urán has proven that he is capable of winning the Tour de France in the future, if everything goes his way.

Get more Tour Stage analysis, course predictions and training takeaways from this year’s Tour de France here.

The post Stage 19-20 Power Analysis: Rigoberto Urán’s Road to Glory appeared first on TrainingPeaks.

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