Dion Smith’s Tour de France Training Plan
New Zealander, Dion Smith, has really climbed the ranks since turning pro in 2013. He did a couple of years with Hincapie’s development and pro programs, a year with One Pro Cycling and now is riding Wanty-Groupe Gobert in 2017 and earned himself the King of The Mountains Jersey on Stage 2 of the 2018 Tour de France.
Smith rode and finished last year’s tour, and well, they say finishing a Grand Tour changes a rider. We’d say that Smith’s training proves it. There aren’t many workouts in Stages Link that even come close to the volume and grit of Smith’s workout.
Disclaimer: the training doesn’t start until hour three and only gets burlier as the time, miles and fatigue wear on. Again, this workout isn’t for the faint of heart or legs. If you decide to take it on, find a beautiful summer day and plan to ride the most of it.
Here’s what Smith has to say about this workout:
“I find this workout is designed to help me improve fatigue resistance. It’s one thing to be able to produce high power for a given duration, but to do it at the end of the race, with 4 or 5 hours of racing (and fatigue) already in your legs, is a totally different ball game! The idea of the workout is to create a load of fatigue, and then start ‘training’ towards the end of your ride, once your body is already tired, so essentially training your body to produce power under conditions of fatigue. The goal is to be able to replicate the power you can produce when you’re fresh, at the end of a race when it really counts!”
So you want to be a Pro? REALLY?
HOURS 1 -3:
Start off by just riding steady in the middle of your endurance zone for the first 3 hours over mixed terrain.
Let the terrain drive your effort, but don’t slack off.
HOURS 3 – 4
From hour 3 to 4 you’re going to ride at the upper end of your tempo zone for 60 minutes, for a bit of TdF specificity, this would be up a long, sustained climb.
For hour 4 to 5, you’re back to mid-endurance zone for 60 minutes.
After 5 hours of riding, this is where the training really starts.
6 x 3 min intervals,
right at the top-end of your VO2 zone, at 95-100 rpm.
3 -5 minutes recovery between each rep.
Smith Says: It’s normal that this feels like a struggle, but box on through them anyway, the benefits will be worth it.
HOUR 6 – 6.5
Finish off with 30 min back in your endurance zone to warm down, to give you a total of 6-6.5 hours for the day!
It’s really important that you eat and drink regularly throughout the first 5 hours, otherwise you just won’t get through the reps in the back end.
For a real TdF special, back this session up with another 5 hours in the saddle the next day!
While Smith’s type of training isn’t all that useful to most amateur racers, it’s eye-opening and it plays well for a training experience that you might need to train for before you can even complete.
We truly appreciate that Smith took the time to share it with us, on the eve of his second Tour, no less.