YOUR GRAND TOUR
Elevate your holiday fitness ambitions with scenic routes from the UK’S best cyclists
This month, 198 riders from 22 teams will descend on Düsseldorf for the Grand Départ of the 104th edition of The Tour de France – the most famous event on two wheels. Taking place over 23 days, and encompassing 2200 miles and 21 stages over four nations, it is a unique sporting spectacle watched by an estimated four billion people worldwide.
All of which somewhat puts your Sunday afternoon push up the local hill into perspective. There’s nothing quite like the prestige – not to mention physical prowess – that competition bestows, but aiming to outpace the pros is a daunting prospect. While you work to fit in a quick slog before dinner, the average Tour rider toils for five hours per day, torching up to 8000 calories at speeds of 25.7mph.
But if you want to set your sights on breaking away to victory on the ChampsÉlysées – boosting your fitness, pedal power and endurance in the process – you needn’t confine yourself to a life of punishing endurance. Nor do you need a £10,000 bicycle. With just a little bit of expert advice, you can revolutionise your performance and put yourself in with a sportive chance. To help you climb every mountain, we asked the best UK riders – including Olympians, Team Sky stalwarts and auspicious apprentices – to share their favourite training routes, crossing the UK from Hackney to Cardiff, as well as a summer decampment to the panoramic but exacting Mallorcan hills.
Here, then, is your guide to the best under-the-radar training routes around – complete with all the inside information you need to eke out a competitive edge. Each is testing, yes – and you’ll be riding without the Tour’s encouraging spectators lining your course. But with a strong will, developing quadriceps and a little bit of intelligent preparation, each route is achievable. So shake off that lactic acid, put the brakes on your gym’s static bike and saddle up.
Whether you’re gearing up to lead the peloton, or just want to start the wheels turning, these routes from the UK’S top cyclists will lift your fitness while swerving the Tour de France crowds. If you want to contend for the yellow jersey in 2018, this is how to train…