Didn’t make the selection for the Tour de France this year? Bummer. Well, fear not, we have a free Tour de France training plan here that mimics the physiological demands and terrain of the 2021 Tour (on a smaller scale) through interval workouts and rides of varying intensities and durations. It is a zone-based training plan where you may use heart rate, power, or just feel.
Here are a few examples of how it works.
Stage 1 is a hilly 197.8k road race from Brest to Landerneau, with a hard Cat. 3 uphill finish. From a physiological perspective, this spells as-hard-as-you-can-go VO2 Max intervals!
Stage 5 is a time trial, and a great opportunity for your very own field test. Time trial power data is the gold standard for determining your Functional Threshold Power or FTP. This is the one day of the training plan where you will actually put in a similar effort in length as the Tour de France athletes — though many of us won’t be putting out over 6 watts per kilo!
Once your field test is done, you can set up proper training zones to use for the rest of the plan if you don’t have them already. After a rest week following the three weeks, you can repeat your effort to measure your improvement.
Use this training plan as a stepping block into the rest of your summer. Get some rest afterwards and you will be faster.
This training plan is designed to mimic the demands the riders go through and along with that comes pain and fatigue. Some of these workouts are hard! But as we like to say, ‘Cry in the DoJo to laugh on the battlefield.’
Calendar codes of stages & workouts
- HM: High mountain stage = sweet spot and threshold combined intervals
- M: Medium mountain stage = over unders, sweet spot, threshold and supra threshold
- H: Hilly stage = zone 5 VO2 intervals
- F: Flat stage = anaerobic (zone 6), sprints & the diabolical tabatas
- ITT: Individual time trial = zone 4 threshold
The calendar shows the finishing city of each stage next to the date. On your training rides, try to mimic the stage as much as possible. Obviously, if you live in Florida or Texas, finding alpine climbs is impossible. You can still obtain the physiological benefit of zone 4 training by power output, heart rate or good old fashioned feel and rate of perceived exertion. Watch the Tour live in the morning for inspiration, then head out after for some riding of your own.
This plan works in TrainingPeaks with both a free account and a premium membership. Set the start date for today, Wednesday, June 23, to sync the workouts with the Tour de France stages.
Good luck. Work hard, ride fast, and have fun!