THE PRO VIEW

How im­por­tant is alti­tude train­ing to the World­tour teams?

Cyclist - - Altitude training Knowledge -

Marco Pinotti, per­for­mance coach, BMC Rac­ing

‘It’s a tool that can help rid­ers rac­ing in the moun­tains and the Grand Tours, but only some rid­ers re­spond well. There are mark­ers we can check to see if it has worked, but the real check is the road – the race re­sults af­ter they re­turn to sea level. Of­ten when they come back the first race is not so good, and then they per­form well maybe two or three weeks af­ter. Every time a rider goes to alti­tude we learn some­thing about their body, and how to use this tool bet­ter in the fu­ture.

‘We go to Tener­ife or Sierra Ne­vada, maybe Mount Etna in Si­cily, but weather con­di­tions mean it’s lo­gis­ti­cally dif­fi­cult to or­gan­ise so we usu­ally only take one sin­gle rider or a small group. Never the whole team.’

Jon Baker, coach, Di­men­sion Data

‘We don’t go as a team to alti­tude – we take small groups, of­ten to Tener­ife, but some rid­ers pre­fer Boul­der, Colorado. It’s hard to find lo­ca­tions that don’t have snow above 2,500m for most of the year.

‘Alti­tude train­ing isn’t a magic bul­let. The re­search sup­ports its ben­e­fits, but there are neg­a­tives as well – re­duced sleep, and it’s harder to train at high in­ten­sity. Rid­ers’ re­sponses are an in­di­vid­ual thing. My job is to un­der­stand the phys­i­o­log­i­cal pro­file of the rider and how they adapt.

‘It’s hard to pro­vide ac­tual num­bers but I would say a 20 watt im­prove­ment [in thresh­old power] would be a bril­liant re­sult. Re­al­is­ti­cally we would see more like 5-10W.’

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