To get the turn of pace of Quick-Step’s Viviani, you have to put the effort in...
In this month’s Training Camp you can learn how to sprint like Giro d’Italia fast man Elia Viviani; build better pectoral muscles; discover the benefits of berries and BBC Breakfast presenter and triathlon star Louise Minchin talks about her favourite part of the sport - cycling!
Italian track and road specialist Elia Viviani came to prominence during the 2015 Giro d’Italia, before winning gold in the omnium at the 2016 Olympics. His shock departure from Team Sky after three years as its principle sprinter was all the more notable as he immediately secured early season successes with his new outfit Quick-Step Floors. These included an overall victory at the Dubai Tour and stage wins at the Tour Down Under, Abu Dhabi Tour and the 2018 Giro d’Italia.
But Viviani’s va-va-voom isn’t a surprise package unleashed on the day of the race – he’s revealed the kind of pre-season slog that goes into perfecting those podium-pinching bursts. His build-up begins in November and December with a month of long rides – in four-day blocks of up to six hours a time – averaging 30kph, including mountain work, in order to put some power into those lightning legs of his.
He’ll then focus on sprint work drills that include 10-second sprints in small gears from a slow start but working up gradually in numbers of sprints each day. This is followed by a month spent upping the level and working in bigger gears and time in the gym focusing on getting everything in sync for the start of the season.
During a race season Viviani maintains the gym work – leg presses, extensions and abs work – but at a lower intensity, using low weights and high reps to keep in condition without building unnecessary muscle mass. MAXIMUM EFFORT Sprinting ability is limited by Pmax - the power you can generate in one complete pedal revolution, so increasing this max is key. Work on max efforts over 5-10-second periods to start with. Start at five reps and build to 10 or 12 over the weeks. You need to get a full recovery so you can go max again - around 10 minutes between each sprint with very easy pedalling. STAYING POWER Once your power improvement has hit a celling over 5-10 seconds, look to build duration. Do some tests and work out how much your power declines from Pmax over 10, 20 and 30 seconds. Then specifically increase your sprint training duration so that you can put out more power for longer.