The Preparation

Choose a team below to get a behind-the-scenes look into how they prepared for the Tour.

Straight from the Critérium du Dauphiné, four of the team's riders landed in the small French mountain village of Soldeu in Andorra for a 12-day block at altitude, while other teammates finished off their preparations racing the Tour de Suisse.

Located in the French Pyrenees at 2,000 meters, Andorra is a popular riding camp destination for pro riders because of its easy access to training roads (there are 22 classified climbs in the immediate area), good weather and ample facilities.

After a few recovery days and acclimation post-Dauphiné, riders covered between 120 and 150 kilometers per day, including regular climbs up Coll de la Gallina—a 12km climb with an average incline of 8 percent. Their pre-Tour camp culminated in an 180km journey back to Girona from Andorra with 2,000 meters of climbing but more than 4,000 meters of descent.

The Drapac team depends on TrainingPeaks to create an individualized plan for each of the riders at camp and to stay in constant communication with those racing elsewhere. Looking at each rider's racing data from the Dauphiné, their Performance Management Charts, as well as talking with each rider to gain personal insights, the coaches were able to develop a 12-day training block for each teammate that offered the perfect balance of recovery and load.

"The racing data gives a real insight into a riders' condition and how they will cope with a grand tour—how quickly they are recovering, handling the workload day after day, and also if they are able to hit performance markers whilst fatigued," said Cannondale-Drapac's Head of Performance, Keith Flory. "Each rider on the long list for the tour would fit different roles during the race, so we're mindful of this when assessing the data."

Read a Q&A with Keith Flory to learn more about Cannondale-Drapac's pre-Tour camp in Andorra.

Like many pro cycling teams, ORICA-SCOTT GreenEDGE makes good use of the Pyrenees for most of their training camps. Team Coach Alex Camier looks after four riders on the team, including Alexander Edmondson, Simon Gerrans and twin brothers Simon and Adam Yates. Adam heads into this year's Tour as a favorite after being named best young rider and finishing fourth overall in 2016.

"We essentially have two big training camps, both in Andorra, leading into the Tour," said Camier. "One was in early May before the Dauphiné, then the second is coming off of the Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse just to fine-tune any specifics for the Tour." During the earlier camp riders would get in roughly 30 hours per week, incorporating some longer seven hour days for endurance, mixed in with some four hour, more race-specific intensity rides. "In the second camp we do a lot less volume," explained Camier. "This camp is more about altitude exposure and climbing reconnaissance. If your goal is to be good in the Tour, then most of the work should've already been done."

Camier focuses more on some VO2 sessions, both indoor and outside, during the final camp in order to tax the riders just enough while also giving them some confidence heading into the Tour. "Typically no more than eight minutes at high intensity, with periods of 30 seconds really hard, three minutes a bit lower, followed by some fast sprints and recoveries to simulate racing scenarios a little bit."

With his riders, Camier relies on TrainingPeaks to visualize trends and correlations year over year and event to event. "I look at last year's build to the Tour, their Chronic Training Load (CTL) during that time, and then use that as a reference for this year's build," he said. "When coaching at this level things become very individual, and riders will need to look at the load they need to get to before they can really start to perform—that's what they'll encounter during a grand tour. TrainingPeaks allows us to monitor that very closely and communicate easily with our riders about what we're seeing."

Export a Pre-Tour VO2 trainer session similar to the one Camier is prescribing for his team riders directly to your compatible device.

While many of the world's Tour riders are preparing in the Pyrenees, Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka have spent the weeks leading up to the grand tour in various locations all over Europe, including at their own performance center in Lucca, Italy. This individualized approach allows them to focus on the spectrum of strengths among the athletes that they want to leverage for the Tour, including top riders Mark Cavendish and Steve Cummings, who between them have 32 Tour de France stage wins.

Each rider's plan was created back in November of 2016 during a large-scale training camp with all 28 riders in Capetown, South Africa. "During that camp we had one-on-one meetings with each riders and sketched out their 2017 seasons, making their prep highly individualized after that point," explained Dr. Carol Austin, Head of Performance Support and Medical for the team.

"So while we don't have a specific pre-Tour camp, we are having various training camps throughout the year at the location best suited to what each rider needs to be focused on. Naturally TrainingPeaks helps us massively stay in contact with our riders so we can share data and see where they are at during any moment in time."

After winning five stages last year, the expectations for the team this year are quite high. "We depend on TrainingPeaks and WKO4 to look at the data and see what we did last year and how we can best repeat the preparation and load for this year," said Austin.

That said, with Cavendish out most of 2017 with illness and Cummings suffering a bad crash in April, Austin and the other performance staff are now using TrainingPeaks to clearly design a program that allows each of them to return to top-performance level in the safest way possible.

"With Cavendish, because he is such an experienced rider, his sprinting ability is not in question," explained Austin. "But rebuilding your endurance after a long illness can be difficult, so we are constantly assessing his fitness, fatigue and form levels in TrainingPeaks. We're ramping him up quite quickly, but we are able to keep very close tabs on his load, intensity and fatigue levels and make sure he is getting the recovery he needs."

Read more about how Dr. Carol Austin is using TrainingPeaks for their final 2017 Tour de France team selection.

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