Training

Cycling On Form: Workouts for Classics sprinters

Workouts designed specifically for the sprinter who can endure rolling terrain or even a climb or two and take the win in a bunch gallop to the line.

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You may have an idea of your strengths and weaknesses as a cyclist, which kind of terrain suits you, and the on-the-bike skills and riding style you use to go farther, faster. But many riders find themselves chasing wheels they shouldn’t chase, or not sticking to who they are on the bike. You can improve your fitness, better execute your plan, and win your ride if you stick to your strengths.

The Rider Type quiz will help you dig into your cycling DNA and point you to the kinds of workouts best-suited for your type.

Once you identify your type, perform the PTZ Test (below) to find the power zones you’ll be training with.

Find Your PowerTrain Zones

This field test will give you the baseline power zones that will be used in your rider-type-specific workouts. Try to evenly distribute the power throughout the duration of the 12-minute effort. Don’t worry about finding the perfect road for this test; a few slight downhills or corners are just fine. If the road is representative of what you’ll ordinarily be training on, then it is great for your PTZ test.

Graphic detailing how to find powertrain zones

Performing singular intervals is helpful for developing fitness, but putting the effort into context, such as a race, will give you practice for the real thing. So I’ve developed 4 workouts that put you into race scenarios. Find suitable terrain for these workouts, get your game face on, and go for the win!

Terminology

  • MES: Maximum Effort Strength, an all-out effort like a final sprint, whether seated or standing
  • Power Floor: You should always stay within a prescribed zone, but where “power floor” is noted, it’s crucial to not fall below that PTZ.
  • PTZ: PowerTrain Zone
  • Standing body position: out of the saddle, standing on pedals, hands on the hoods
  • Seated body position: remain seated, in the saddle

Workouts for Classics Sprinters: Accelerations

In today’s workout we are focused on developing your ability to transition between PTZs, cadences, and body positions to create a massive acceleration. This is a very important skill and strength a Classics Sprinter must develop to get results. The key here is to be able to show good control and a sharp contrast in the transition that will leave your competition in the dust.

Total time: 1.5 hours | 15 min. easy

  • 1 x 10 min. PTZ 3 at 90 rpm
  • 5 min. recovery

Acceleration Transition

5 x 3 min.:

  • 2.5 min. seated climb, PTZ 5 at 50–70 rpm
  • Last 30 sec. standing climb, MES at 90+ rpm
  • 3-min. recovery between each effort

Max Effort

5 x 15 sec.:

  • 15 sec. all-out standing acceleration on flat terrain

Workouts for Classics Sprinters: Flat Terrain

Today’s focus is building strength to ride the flats with better technique. We will use lower cadence for you to focus on your three points of power (hands, core, and feet) and execute proper body position technique.

Total time: 1.5 hours | 15 min. easy warm-up

1 x 8 min., alternate between:

  • 30 sec. seated, PTZ 5 at 50–70 rpm
  • 30 sec. seated, PTZ 2 at 50–70 rpm
  • 5-min. recovery

Seated Body Position: Technique

  • 3 x 5 min. seated, PTZ 5 at 50–70 rpm
  • 3-min. recovery between each interval

Seated Body Position: Strength

  • 3 x 30 sec. seated, power floor of PTZ 10 at 50–70 rpm
  • 1-min. recovery between each effort

Standing Body Position: Technique

  • 4 x 2 min. standing, power floor of PTZ 5 at 50–70 rpm
  • 2-min. recovery between each interval

Standing Body Position: Strength

  • 3 x 30 sec. standing, power floor of PTZ 10 at 50–70 rpm
  • 1-min. recovery between each effort

Workouts for Classics Sprinters: Race Finale

Today we are going to simulate the competitive scenario of when you try to stay with someone who is trying to drop you, and then outsprint them. In this simulation you will be using the key PowerTrain Zones, cadences, the body positions, and the key timing to simulate a high level battle you would find at the end of a race. As a Classics Sprinter, this simulation will come near the finish. Just like in a real race, there are hard efforts before the one that counts. So we will simulate coming into the finish at a hard pace, then sticking it out following the attacks, and sprinting to the win in the end.

The key here is that there will be multiple accelerations. Normally, most people think there will be only one or two attacks, or that there won’t be any as they will just sit in and wait for the finish. This often results in not even getting to the sprint, as they miss the winning break or selection. Here, we are practicing staying in your PTZs and staying within yourself so you can cover all the moves.

Finally, you make the selection and with the finish line in sight, you launch your Classics Sprinter sprint all the way to the finish line!

Total time: 1.5 hours | 15 min. easy warm-up

1 x 12 min., alternate between:

  • 3 min. PTZ 2 at 80 rpm
  • 1 min. power floor of PTZ 4 at 100 rpm
  • 5 min. recovery

Race Finale Simulation (repeat 2x with 10 min. rest in between)

You are heading into the finish. You are battling for position to stay near the front.

1 x 5 min., alternate between:

  • 30 sec. seated acceleration, power floor of PTZ 7 at 100 rpm (move up in the peloton)
  • 30 sec. seated, PTZ 3 at 80 rpm (hold your position in the peloton)
  • 3 min. recovery

As you get close to the finish, riders start to attack, making their bid for victory. You cover each of the attacks, which keeps you at the front of the peloton, making all the key selections.

1 x 6 min., alternate between:

  • 30 sec. standing acceleration, PTZ 10 at 80+ rpm
  • 30 sec. seated, PTZ 5 at 80 rpm

It’s 250 meters to go to the finish line! You launch your Classics Sprinter sprint to the finish line and take the win.

  • 1 x 15 sec. seated acceleration, MES at 100+ rpm

Workouts for Classics Sprinters: Race Tactics

Let’s do a race simulation to work on tactics. This execution is how you could successfully use your Classics Sprinter Rider Type to perform well in a potentially complicated race finale with a short climb and crosswind.

Total time: 1.5 hours | 15 min. easy warm-up

  • 1 x 12 min. power floor of PTZ 3 at 90 rpm
  • 4 min. recovery

Part 1: Rolling terrain

You are nearing the end of a race. It is 15k to go and you are currently in the peloton on a fast downhill on a straight road. There is a strong tailwind, and you notice the group is really strung out behind. Ahead you see the road changes direction to the right and will stay this direction all the way to the finish. The terrain is rolling all the way to the finish line.

1 x 9 min., alternate between:

  • 1 min. 40 sec. seated, PTZ 4 at 90 rpm
  • 1 min. standing climb, power floor of PTZ 5 at 70 rpm (for the rollers)
  • 20 sec. seated acceleration climbs, power floor of PTZ 8 at 100 rpm (over the top and into the downhill to get maximum speed)
  • 5-min. recovery after the full interval

Part 2: Tail/Crosswind

After the road changes direction to the tail/crosswind, riders start to attack. You must follow the effort to stay in the front of the peloton as you know there will be dangerous crosswinds at the top of the rollers.

  • 1 x 1 min. standing acceleration climb, power floor of PTZ 8 at 80 rpm

Part 3: Recover and attack

You stay in the front of the group but a Classics TT rider launches a move at the top of the roller, moving all the way to the side of the road to gutter you and the group.

1 x 2.5 min.:

  • 30 sec. seated, PTZ 3 at 80 rpm (recover and clear lactate)
  • 1 min. seated acceleration, power floor of PTZ 7 at 100 rpm (follow the attack)
  • 1 min. seated, PTZ 3 at 80 rpm (clear lactate and recover on the rider’s wheel)

Part 4: You and the Classics TT Rider have a gap! You work with him to the finish!

1 x 4 min., alternate between:

  • 1 min. seated acceleration, PTZ 6 at 90 rpm (take a pull)
  • 1 min. seated, PTZ 4 at 90 rpm (you move to get on the rider’s wheel)

Part 5: At 150 meters to the line, after sitting on his wheel, you sprint to victory!

  • 15 sec. MES sprint at 100+ rpm

Adapted from Cycling On Form: A Pro Method of Riding Faster and Stronger by Tom Danielson with permission of VeloPress.