Chris Froome ready to ’empty the tank’ in Ruta del Sol final time trial

Team Sky’s Chris Froome says that the overall win in the Ruta del Sol is out of his reach, but he’ll be supporting team-mate Wout Poels and put in an effort on the final stage time trial
– Words: John Woodhouse

Chris Froome believes victory is probably out of his reach as the Ruta del Sol enters its last two stages, but has vowed to “empty the tank” in the last day time trial as he continues his build-up to a potential Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.

At this early stage of the season, Froome believes he’s not quite got the edge on his opponents in Andalucia, but is content with his progress, and is happy to help teammate and current race leader Wout Poels on to the top step of the podium in Barbate on Sunday.

“I’m not feeling super-fresh at the moment,” admitted Froome after rolling in with the pack at the end of the relatively flat 166km from Mancha Real to Herrera.

“To win I think would be difficult. The gap is only 30 seconds and that’s not easy with such a short uphill finish on stage four (Saturday’s prickly 194km jaunt from Seville to Alcala De Los Gazules) – and a short TT.

“I don’t see it happening with the strong field that’s here, but it’s very much in Wout’s sights so we’ll be working towards that. Wout is in great shape so we’ll do everything we can around him.”

>>> Chris Froome: ‘I called it pretty early, I’m still not at my best’

But Froome’s competitive spirit won’t quite release him from wondering if he might have an outside chance.

“I’m half a minute off the lead at the moment,” he notes, “so I’ll empty the tank on the last time trial. Again it’s another little test to see where I’m at – to see what work I still need to do on the TT bike.”



Poels, meanwhile, was wearing the same trademark big smile at the end of the stage into Herrera as he was at the beginning, stating that Team Sky has never been a happier place, as the British team enjoys the lead in both the Ruta del Sol and the Volta ao Algarve, with Thomas sporting that race’s yellow jersey.

“It feels a very happy place at the moment,” said Poels of Team Sky.

“I’m very pleased with my form at this stage of the season. We don’t let what is being talked about with Chris affect us. We are a happy group and I think it is showing.”

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Campenaerts denied at the last in Volta ao Algarve

A sympathetic round of applause was all Victor Campenaerts (Lotto Soudal) was left with after the Belgian rider narrowly missed out on victory in the stage 3 time trial at the Volta ao Algarve.

The European champion and one of Lotto’s newest recruits spent two and half hours in the hot seat on Friday after setting the best time earlier in the day. The ‘hot seat’ in this instance was an office chair positioned front and centre on the podium, meaning that Campenaerts cut a lonely and almost bizarre figure as he looked out upon the crowd as rider after rider came across the line.

In return, the crowd were rewarded with watching either the race on the big screen or Campenaerts tucking into a sandwich and checking his phone. At various points during the long day, it was hard to know which view was more interesting. What was in Campenaerts sandwich? Was Tony Martin going to challenge? In the end, we only found out the answer to one of these significant mysteries.

At the last, it was Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas who denied the European time trial champion the victory. Martin, Richie Porte and a host of other big names failed to trouble Campenaerts’ time of 24:20 with only last-man and race leader Thomas able to sneak home 11 seconds faster.

A desolate Campenaerts put his head in his hands as he sat in perhaps the drabbest of thrones, before trudging back to the Lotto Soudal team bus.

“I was in that seat for a long time and you can imagine I was hoping for something else but Geraint Thomas is a really strong rider,” he told Cyclingnews during his walk back to the Lotto sanctuary.

“Thomas and Kwiatkowski were my strongest competitors, and we could see that on stage 2. I beat a lot of strong time triallists but the only thing that really counts is winning. Second is a good result, and the shape is good but….”

Campenaerts came to the race with the sole purpose of winning the 20.3km test. He moved to Lotto Soudal after establishing himself as a prominent time trialist at LottoNL- Jumbo. On stage 2 in Algarve, he sat up and lost considerable time in the hope of being as fresh as possible for the time trial. Although he was competitive and put in a sterling ride, he couldn’t hide his disappointment. However, he also acknowledged that the race’s strongest rider came out on top.

“I came here just to win and when you get beaten…. It was 11 seconds, so he was just stronger. There are no excuses.”

Next up for Campenaerts is the time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico in March. The field there will arguably be tougher but the Belgian should still be in with a decent shout.

“Tirreno is the next objective for me. Let’s hope I can go one better,” he said.

In a press release later sent out by his team, Campenaerts added:

“I want to win a WorldTour time trial this season. Today was a Europe Tour race, but with strong time trialists at the start. To win a time trial at WorldTour level, you need to be world class and I am getting there, but I need a super day and everything needs to fall into place to be able to win.”

Sadly the press release had no mention of the contents of Campenaerts’ sandwich.

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Geraint Thomas wins Volta ao Algarve time trial to increase overall lead

Welshman Geraint Thomas puts in blistering performance to claim stage three of the 2018 Volta ao Algarve and strengthen his race lead

Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) increased his overall lead in the 2018 Volta ao Algarve on Friday after winning the race’s individual time trial stage.

The Welshman claimed the victory 11 seconds ahead of Belgian Victor Campenaerts (Lotto-Soudal), who had enjoyed a long spell in the hot seat after setting an early fast time on the undulating 20.3-kilometre route starting and finishing in Lagoa.

Stefan Küng (BMC Racing) placed third, with the previous day’s stage winner, Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) putting in another strong ride to finish fourth.

Former time trial world champions Tony Martin (Katusha-Alpecin) and Vasil Kiryienka (Team Sky) finished sixth and ninth respectively.

“It’s nice to get a win. Like I said yesterday, I just didn’t expect it. It all seemed to click today,” Thomas said after the victory.

>>> Volta ao Algarve 2018: Latest news, reports and race info

Having already won the race in 2015 and 2016, Thomas said he was keen to add a third victory.

“We’ll try and keep the race lead now, we’ll have a look at the time gaps but not take anything for granted. Victories are few and far between, so I will enjoy this.”

Thomas said that he is off to Tenerife after the race finishes for a team training camp, before staring his campaign in northern Europe.

Thomas now leads team-mate Kwiatkowski by 22 seconds overall, with Portuguese rider Nelson Oliveira (Movistar) in third at 32 seconds.

The 2018 Volta ao Algarve continues on Saturday with stage four, a relatively flat trip from Almodôvar to Tavira taking in 199.2km. The UCI 2.HC-ranked race concludes on Sunday, February 18.



Result

Volta ao Algarve 2018, stage three: Lagoa to Lagoa, 20.3km
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 24-09
2. Victor Campenaerts (Bel) Lotto-Soudal, at 11 secs
3. Stefan Küng (Sui) BMC Racing, at 19 secs
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 22 secs
5. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar, at 22 secs
6. Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin, at 27 secs
7. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 47 secs
8. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors, at 49 secs
9. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 50 secs
10. Lukasz Wisniowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 51 secs

General classification after stage three
1. Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky, in 10-01-58
2. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Team Sky, at 22 secs
3. Nelson Oliveira (Por) Movistar, at 32 secs
4. Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors, at 52 secs
5. Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, at 53 secs
6. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo, at 1-01
7. Jaime Roson (Esp) Movistar, at 1-18
8. Maximilian Schachmann (Ger) Quick-Step Floors, at 1-19
9. Felix Großschartner (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe, at 1-20
10. Vasil Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky, at 1-24

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How to use training software to hit peak form

We take a detailed look at the performance metrics available to amateur cyclists and help you establish how to use training software to get faster

If you’re training in earnest for an event, or you’ve got an entire season of racing planned, then it’s highly likely that you’re using a form of training software.

It’s entirely at the user’s discretion how deep they delve into the tools available to them. Athletes can simply manually log the number of hours and minutes spent riding a bike, or they can use the software as a daily log of absolutely every element of their physiology and psychology.

Those looking to use the software to train their bodies to be ready for a specific event, on a specific date, will likely have further explored the capabilities of their chosen software, using charts that track metrics like fitness, fatigue and form.

What are Performance Management Charts?

Most training software options offer a pictorial view of an athlete’s fitness based on their training load, fatigue level – and resulting freshness.

Popular training software options on the market are Training Peaks (and its more advanced sibling WK04), Today’s Plan, Golden Cheetah and to a lesser degree Strava.

They each employ their own terms and algorithms. In the interests of making a fairly complicated topic a little easier to explain, we’ve stuck with the terms used – and in some cases trademarked – by Training Peaks.

Glossary of Training Peaks terms:

  • Performance Management Charts – the pictorial view which charts the metrics below
  • TSS – Training Stress Score – Training Impulse of a given session
  • IF – Intensity Factor – how hard a session pushed your body based on watts produced/heart rate, and your current fitness
  • CTL – Chronic Training Load – Fitness – training load from last 42 days
  • ATL – Acute Training Load – Fatigue – training load from last 7 days
  • TSB – Training Stress Balance – Form – how you should be feeling and performing based on CTL and TSB

How do Performance Management Charts work?

Performance Management Chart training software

Credit: Stephen Gallagher

The chart above shows Cannondale-Drapac Rider Ryan Mullen’s 2017 Classics Campaign, as analysed by Stephen Gallagher of Dig Deep Coaching – there’s a detailed review on written by Gallager himself on the Training Peaks site.

Discussing the system, five-time British cyclo-cross champion and Dig Deep Cycling coach Ian Field told us: “Ultimately we can use all these numbers to predict performance on a given day. There are possible downfalls, but I’ve used it for four to five years for myself, and I’ve found it to be fairly accurate.

“When I first started using it, I really wanted it to fail – I’m really more a hands-on person, not massively into numbers – but nine times out of 10 I’ve found when you’ve worked out what works for you – and it is very individual – you can predict performance for your goal events.”

>>> Everything you need to know about power meters

The entire system is based on your TSS following each given session. TSS is a term that belongs to Training Peaks, but you’ll find a very similar principle used elsewhere (Suffer Score, if you’re living in an orange world with segments to hunt for, for example).

“TSS is a training impulse. It’s based off FTP [Functional Threshold Power] and makes evaluating one session quite easy. It’s relative to intensity and duration – it takes into account how hard you’ve gone and for how long.”

TSS comes from data from your power meter, though it can be calculated using heart rate

Riding at FTP for one hour would give you a score of 100 – that’s the maximum you can score (since you shouldn’t be able to do more than your one-hour power for an hour). Field suggests intervals sessions will be about 50 or 60 for an hour.

Once you know what sort of TSS your go-to sessions typically yield, you can plan entire training weeks with the optimum TSS, tailored to your targets. Which is where incorporating CTL and ATL to peak for an event comes in.

“TSS can be presented on a chart – this has three lines – CTL (Chronic Training Load), a 42-day rolling average. This is your fitness. ATL is Acute Training Load – that’s what you’ve done in the past seven days – and is called fatigue. If you’ve not backed off for 42 days you’re going to be tired; if you then back off, your ATL will rise, CTL will drop slightly, and you’ll be fresher. The final line is TSB – Training Stress Balance. This is often called form – how well you’re going on a specific day.

>>> Best heart rate monitors for cyclists

“So in an ideal world, before an event, you see your CTL gradually rise, you then back off during a taper period and ATL will drop. That means that your form should rise – the result should be that you’re going well.”

Field says that the recommended number to “feel really good” is between five and 15, though he’s keen to point out that as per all of this it’s very individual. The best form will always be on an upward curve – letting your TSB drop to the right number is nowhere near the same experience as letting it rise from a point where you were in the negatives.

With this knowledge you can manipulate your training and taper weeks – adding in the values, checking the chart – and changing them until you hit the sweet spot.

What are the limitations?

There are, however, some limitations to bear in mind.

The very basis of all of this – TSS – isn’t infallible. As Field says, problems occur “when a watt is not a watt”  – for example when it’s hot, your body will suffer more for the same results. If you’re using heart rate to calculate all of these metrics, you’ve got to understand that heat, fatigue and things like caffeine dramatically affect it.

TSS might be just 80, but you know that session was harder…

Ex-pro and director at Dig Deep Coaching, Stephen Gallagher, has used these metrics extensively – but he says amateurs using them to plan their own training need to be well aware of the pitfalls.

“The performance management charts and the detail within each ride is dependent on the accuracy of your zones. If you have your zones wrong – for example your FTP changes and you don’t update it – the trace that you’re following, whatever you’re tracking in terms of ATL, CTL, is inaccurate. That’s a big area people don’t realise,” Gallagher says.

>>> Training zones explained 

“The other thing is that a lot of the zones are set on FTP – that’s the traditional approach. But FTP doesn’t dictate intensity of every ride. Some people can have a lot more fatigue from doing V02 efforts than threshold. It doesn’t take into account individual physiology – you may be dominant in another area, so if TSS is based off FTP it won’t always be accurate – and that will throw your other data out. Threshold isn’t always representative of how hard a session is on an individual.”

Some activities are harder than TSS would suggest they are, too. Gym sessions where heart rate remains low for the relative amount of muscle damage, for example, are hard to provide values for – and as Gallagher puts it: “I do a lot of mountain biking and the training stress I get from that isn’t reflective of my broken body as I come in the door after a two-hour mountain bike ride.”

training software

A form score of -2 suggests this athlete is pretty fatigued, but given an easy week that number would shoot up pretty quickly. However, it all depends if the zones were set up right and TSS recorded was correct.

All this information needs to be used and applied with knowledge, too.

“A misconception people have is that CTL needs to be higher and the higher it is, the better your fitness is. That’s not necessarily correct – it tells you how much load you’ve done for that period. We have a lot of people who come to us and want to get CTL as high as possible: you can get that by just riding your bike four hours a day, but it won’t necessarily make you faster. It can be used to help ramp your training but it has to be used in relation to intensity of sessions.

“How you approach your training, and how much of a ramp your CTL is, can be dictated by your event. Take a track rider: it’s not possible to get a large spike as a lot of your rides will be 60-90 minutes and intense, while someone training for a gran fondo will ramp their CTL up quite a bit.”

The two riders will need to reach whatever their ideal CTL is via different routes, too. A high CTL could be achieved via logging many four-hour rides, but with low intensity factored in, that athlete would probably get dropped like a stone from the start line of a criterium race.

Considering individual factors is crucial. “You also need to be aware of what CTL you can handle. Someone who works 40-hour week, has a family and other commitments can’t raise their CTL as high as someone with the same FTP and more time to recover. External factors can have just as much effect on performance as training sessions and weekly training stress.”

WKO4 – the advanced tool from Training Peaks – allows you to track more of this, but it can’t take into account every factor such as the all-night wail of a newborn baby.

How should we using training software?

On the whole, Gallagher doesn’t advocate all amateurs poring over the numbers for hours on end.

“It’s a gauge. Individual sensations are as important as what it says on the software. We have some people who focus a lot on these charts and it’s not healthy in a lot of cases. Technology has unfortunately dulled our senses and stopped us using our own common sense and what we feel in ourselves about what we should be doing and training.

“You can’t let lines on a chart dictate how you think you’re going – it doesn’t tell you exactly how you’re feeling. You need to be able to listen to yourself,” he says.

This is not to say that amateurs shouldn’t be using training software – more that we don’t need to get bogged down in all the wrong numbers.

Gallagher says: “The principle [of a training diary] is to tell your story. Whatever you use, the more information you have the better enabled you are to tell your story in the future.”

you can use training software just like a diary

You can use training software just like a traditional training diary

“From a coaching point to view, when somebody comes on for coaching and they have a lot of data and information from their past, it’s so much easier to get a snapshot of that person. We can look at it and see what worked and what didn’t. You can have a coach do that, or you can do it as an individual, but you need that background of information to work out what worked and what didn’t.”

He adds: “The ability to plan your training and focus going into an event is now so much easier. We live in an age where everything is on your phone – your calendar, work meetings – and it’s exactly the same with training software: you can be very specific and you can organise yourself based on how much time you have and being able to use that going forward. Regardless of power, heart rate zones, that’s the essence of most of the software people use.”

While Performance Management Charts are created specifically to help athletes peak for events, Gallagher reckons combining personal knowledge and information along with tracking fitness via software brings the best chances to peak perfectly. With a well used, detailed training diary, you can do it based on just looking at what you’ve done in the past.

“One of the benefits [of keeping a proper training diary] is being able to look at templates of what you’ve done before. If you want to load up for an event and then do a taper, you can see from the past what works for you.

“Having the data along with the personal knowledge on how you felt and the sensations at the time is a great way to understand what worked and what didn’t.”

What does a ‘perfect’ taper look like?

Hopefully, it goes without saying that if you want to peak for a target event, a taper – period of preparation – is going to feature. It’s during the taper that you’d expect to see ATL (fatigue) drop and TSB (form) rise.

The perfect taper varies dramatically between individuals but the general principle is to lower volume but maintain some intensity.

>>> Why everyone needs a coach and how to choose one

“In my opinion, and with quite a big scientific backup – the best taper is approximately 10 days and a really good way of doing it is day on, day off,” says Field.

“Then you’re getting adequate recovery, but going really hard on the ‘on’ days. A good taper means cutting back the volume, but keeping the same number of sessions as a normal week – so riding your bike just as many times as normal, but bringing the volume down and keeping the intensity.”

The bottom line

Training tools and performance metrics can provide amateur cyclists with a huge wealth of information. However, it’s not the be all and end all – there’s nothing wrong with simply going on feel and listening to your body.

No matter what approach you take, keeping a detailed training diary will help you to look back at past events and establish what sort of approach helped you to be in your best (or worst) form – so you can avoid past mistakes and be an even better version of yourself the next time around.

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Best cycling in Spain: where to base yourself for spring riding

There’s a whole world full of cycling opportunities – so why do we all flock to Spain every year? Well, the temperature’s spot on, the terrain is great and the top destinations are set up to welcome bike riders…

According to the ultimate authority that is Wikipedia, the Earth’s surface area is over 510 million kilometres squared – 148 million of which is land.

Spain encompasses just over 505 thousand kilometres squared – do the maths and it turns out it’s just 0.3 per cent of the total land available. And yet, UK cyclists flock to mainland Spain and its surrounding islands on an annual basis.

>>> Best cycling holidays 

The reasons are pretty simple – the UK’s peak riding season kicks off in spring, and that’s the time of year that temperatures in Spain are pretty much perfect for cycling. Even those not training for summer events are sick of the rain and wind by February so Spain is the perfect getaway.

Add in that you can fly there in around two hours, plus the fact that Spain houses some of Europe’s greatest climbs, and you’ve got yourself an ideal location for spring training camps.

Despite being such a tiny percentage of the overall Earth, Spain is still pretty big. That mean’s there’s plenty of choice as to where to ride.

Here’s a look at some of the top locations…

The best locations for cycling in Spain

Denia and Calpe

cycling in Spain

Etixx-QuickStep team in Calpe in 2015. Photos: Geoff Waugh

Go for: enjoying a cycling holiday and the traditional sandy beaches holidayers love

Kicking things off in mainland Spain, Denia and Calpe take their home on the Mediterranean coast. Both towns are nestled on the Costa Blanca stretch in Alicante and just 35km of land separates the two, so it’s really not a big deal which one you choose to stay in.

This area is absolutely no stranger to pro training camps – Team Sunweb, BMC Racing, Astana and Quick-Step have all been known to bring their riders out to this area for pre-season mile munching.

Some of the key climbs have featured in the Vuelta a España – such as the Cumbre del Sol, which although less than 4km long has an average gradient of 10 per cent and was made famous when Tom Dumoulin beat Chris Froome to the summit in 2015.

>>> 10 ways to improve your climbing

Flying to Alicante airport takes around 2.5 hours and spring temperatures are warm – with highs of 20-23 degrees Celsius. Rain days vary from four to 11 a month across the year – bear in mind that’s days it rains a month and that could only be for an hour at a time.

The area isn’t only popular with cyclists – the sandy beaches bring tourists from all over the world, including the UK. From the top of some climbs you’ll be able to make out the mega tourist trap of Benidorm, its built up sprawl and skyscrapers – but the area’s typical visitors are more drawn to peak summer months.

Girona

cycling in spain

Girona boasts great riding and community

Go for: vibrant nightlife and a busy cycling community as well as great riding

Our second mainland location, Girona has become a bit of a ‘must visit’ in recent years. The Catalonian city houses a disproportionate number of pro cyclists, with many making their home within its walls due to the ideal terrain, cycling friendly weather and the community on offer there.

It’s almost impossible not to come across pro riders logging their miles when riding in Girona. If you really fancy you can drop some cash on having a pro guide you round the area via the Service Course who offer everything from bike hire to guided rides and photography.

The city itself is vibrant, with plenty of bars and cafes. However, the population sits at 98k – which means the area is quiet enough that you can easily base yourself in the centre, without having to worry about the first few miles spent riding out of the city each day being a rat-race.

The climbs are not as long as those you might find in the cycling mecca that is Mallorca – but there’s plenty to make your legs hurt – famous ascents include the 10km Rocacorba, 11km Els Angels and 10km Sant Hilari.

>>> The best bike bags and boxes for air travel

Maximum temperatures vary from 14 to 23 degrees Celsius between November and May, and there’s between nine and 13 rain days a month – that’s a tad cooler and wetter than the popular choice of Majorca but still plenty good enough for riding.

You can choose to fly to Girona airport, or go to Barcelona and follow it up with a 60-90 minute transfer by road.

Tenerife

Go for: year round ideal cycling temperatures and altitude training

Tenerife is sometimes called ‘Isla de la Eterna Primavera’ – the island of the eternal spring – which pretty much sets the scene for its climate. Max temperatures sit at 20 to 23 degrees Celcius from November to May, and there’s between one and six rain days on average a month making it the driest of the locations listed.

The epicentre of the island is the Mount Teide volcano. If you choose to climb it, you’re taking on the longest continuous ascent in Europe – it’s 35km long and covers 2,100 metres of elevation.


Watch: How to climb Mount Teide


Riders can expect to suffer with the altitude at the top, but there are plenty of lower roads to choose from. Fear not, with a road circumference of 223 getting lost would be quite a feat.

At the top of the Mount Teide climb, you’ll find the Parador Hotel, which has in the past been a popular place for pro cyclists to stay if they want to sleep at altitude. However, since it was a known favourite of Lance Armstrong, few riders (except Bradley Wiggins who stayed there in 2011) have been that open about taking up home there.

Flights take a bit longer compared to other Spanish locations, at about four hours to either Tenerife North or South airport.

Mallorca

cycling in spain

Climbing Sa Calobra in Mallorca

Go for: The cyclists mecca, with all the facilities you could need and varied terrain

No list of Spanish cycling locations would be complete without a sizeable mention for Mallorca.

The largest of the Balearic Islands, the road circumference is 312km long – and within the centre you’ll find iconic climbs ranging between 10 and 20km – including Sa Calobra, Puig Major and Coll de Soller.

There are rolling and flat lands too, particularly around the coast – though the most popular recovery ride covers about 80km (40km there and back) and gradually climbs from Port de Pollenca to Cap Formentor.

>>> Cycling and cramp: how to avoid it

You could stay anywhere and find yourself spoilt for choice when it comes to riding, but popular locations include Port de Pollença and Alcudia.

Thousands of cyclists flock to this island in spring, which means it’s incredibly well set up for riders – there are plenty of bike shops, tour companies and hire facilities.

Flights take about 2.5 hours to Palma, and Port de Pollença is about 60km or one hour drive away. Between February and April, max temperatures sit at about 16 and 20 degrees Celcius and average rain days vary from one to seven a month all year.

The Pyrenees

cycling spain

Many climbs in the Pyrenees cross the France/Spain border

Got for: the opportunity to enjoy variety and nip into France – enjoying its iconic Tour de France climbs – as and when you fancy

The Pyrenees mountain range covers 430km, and it stretches over both Spain and France. The French side houses many of the most famous climbs, but Spain has plenty to give – and a fair few climbs span the France/Spain border. You can see a really useful map of all the major climbs here.

Being as it is nestled in the mountains, the area is generally cooler than the rest of Spain, with max temperatures rarely shooting over 25 degrees Celsius even in the mid summer months of July and August. As a result, this is an optimum location if your looking for a get-away later in the year.

You can fly to the French airports of Toulouse or Lourdes – both take about two hours, then drive across the border.

CW has tested out making a roadtrip of the whole thing, taking the Eurotunnel to Calais and driving the 800 odd miles to the Pyrenees – it’s great fun if you want to explore the towns and cities along the way, but not a good option if you want to keep your travelling time to a minimum!

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How the bicycle might look 100 years from now

The first bicycle was produced over 200 years ago – how will the design of pedal-powered two-wheeled machines progress in 100 years’ time?

The first two-wheeled cycles appeared over 200 years ago, and since then they have evolved into the bicycles that we know and love today.

Though some aspects of bicycle design have altered considerably in the past few decades – notably in frame material and electronics – some aspects are remarkably similar to those early machines from two centuries ago.

So, how will bicycles evolve in the next 100 years? We asked Cycling Weekly readers to give us their predictions.

What do you think the bicycle will be like in 100 years’ time? Let us know in the comment section below.

Just like phones, televisions, fridges, kettles, cars… Will be like the smart lawn mowers which people who are too lazy to mow their lawn use. You’ll put on your 3D glasses and sit on your smart couch eating synthetic food and go for a virtual cycle. Why? Because who’d want to cycle a bike? Don’t allow this to happen. We’re the creators of technology. We have destroyed our lives in a technobubble.
Maurice Ouille

It will be a luxury of the past.
Carlos Sanchez

Graphene frames that conduct electricity and not only give real-time biometrics and performance numbers and do everything electronically, but also ping vehicle radars and charge your phone.
Tom Middaugh

When the UCI stops creating these development-hating rules, things will change. The bike weight issue, rider position, disc brakes… The development potential is there to have a superbike, but the interest is not because pros are mandated to ride a bike that fits strict parameters.
Damon Eppler



Continuously variable transmission. Adaptive aero and position based on power output and wind conditions. We’ll probably still get punctures though.
Paul Oz

Two wheels, frame. You know, the usual stuff.
Simon McCormack

Probably non-existent as driverless cars won’t even spot us, and if they do their judgement will probably be programmed that cyclists are disposable!
Neil Simpson

Biodegradable.
Mark Croft

>>> Nine of the best (and the worst) bicycles designed by car companies

One of the great things about bikes is that they haven’t changed very much. The modern geometry of the so-called ‘safety bicycle’, i.e. the equal wheel, diamond shaped frame is fairly similar now to when it was invented in the 1880s. The components and materials have improved, but the basic design remains the same. I, for one, hope they don’t change all that much.
Oliver Neilson

We will have riderless bicycles. Everyone will be able to participate in the Tour de France via an app on their smartphone.
Neil Jackman

Y-frame made from nanotube/graphene equivalent. CVT style infinite gearing, contained internal drivetrain, solid tyres, single-sided fork and possibly rear, wireless electronic braking.
Cody Clark

Frames will have adaptable hinges that allow the geometry to change in response to speed, power and torque, lowering the centre of gravity and adapting chain length automatically to supply optimal power transmission.
Wayne Walker

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Sacha Modolo sprints to Ruta del Sol stage three as Wout Poels retains overall lead

EF Education First-Drapac rider wins bunch sprint in Herrera

Sacha Modolo (EF Education First-Drapac) made amends for his agonising second place on the opening stage of the Ruta del Sol by winning stage three from a bunch sprint in Herrera.

Modolo had missed out on victory on stage one after celebrating too early and getting rolled on the line by Thomas Boudat (Direct Energie) but was making no such mistakes on stage three.

The Italian was kept to the front of affairs through the last kilometre, helping him to stay ahead of a crash through the final corner, and then sprinted clear of his rivals and even putting in a bike throw to take his first victory of the season.

Meanwhile race leader Wout Poels (Team Sky) finished safely in the main pack to retain the leader’s red jersey ahead of Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) and Tim Wellens (Lotto-Soudal).

How it happened

A flat stage three saw the break take 23km to form, with Marco Minnaard (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Alvaro Cuadros (Caja Rural-RGA Seguros), Hector Saez (Euskadi-Murias), and Oscar Cabedo (Burgos-BH) making the move and opening a maximum lead of less than three minutes.

Team Sky, working for Wout Poels, took responsibility for limiting the quartet’s lead, before the sprinters’ teams started to lend a hand in the final 50km and the gap began to fall.

As the gap came below a minute with 30km remaining, Cuadros and Saez forged on alone as they left their breakaway companions. However by 13km to go the duo’s lead was down to just 20 seconds, and the catch was made shortly after.

With eight kilometres remaining it was Ag2r La Mondiale who took up the pace-setting as they looked to set up Clément Venturini, but it was down to Astana to make an impact as they strung the peloton out into a long line to keep their GC men out of trouble with four kilometres to go.

However things began to get a bit messy on the final run towards the line, with an Ag2r La Mondiale rider crashing on the final corner to see a group of 12 riders given a slight gap over the rest of the peloton.

Sacha Modolo was safely sat just a couple of wheels back, and held off the rest of the fastmen to win by a bike length and take his first victory of the season.

The 2018 Ruta del Sol continues on Saturday with a 194.7km stage from Sevilla to Alcalá de los Gazules, featuring a short, punchy uphill finish.

Results

Ruta del Sol 2018, stage three: Mancha Real to Herrera, 166.1km

1. Sacha Modolo (Ita) EF Education First-Drapac, in 3-48-17
2. Carlos Barbero (Esp) Movistar
3. Nelson Andres Soto Martinez (Col) Caja Rural-Seguros RGA
4. Oscar Gatto (Ita) Astana
5. Moreno Hofland (Ned) Lotto Soudal
6. Jon Aberasturi Izaga (Esp) Euskadi-Murias
7. Eduard Michael Grosu (Rom) Nippo-Vini Fantini
8. Coen Vermeltfoort (Ned) Roompot-Nederlandse Loterij
9. Andrea Pasqualon (Ita) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Colin Joyce (USA) Rally Cycling, all at same time

General classification after stage three

1. Wout Poels (Ned) Team Sky,
2. Luis León Sanchez (Esp) Astana, at 2 secs
3. Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at same time
4. Mikel Landa (Esp) Movistar, at 4 secs
5. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana, at same time
6. Marc Soler (Esp) Movistar, at 17 secs
7. Chris Froome (GBr) Team Sky, at 27 secs
8. Mikel Bizkarra (Esp) Euskadi-Murias, at 34 secs
9. Amaro Antunes (Por) CCC Sprandi Polkowice, at 38 secs
10. Jelle Vanendert (Bel) Lotto Soudal, at same time

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Marathon runner aims to run the entire route of the 2018 Tour de France

Yes, all 3,329km of it

If you didn’t thing that riding 3,329km was hard enough, then how about running it? Well that’s what marathon runner Peter Thompson as he takes on the entire route of the 2018 Tour de France, trying to finish ahead of the riders.

Quite reasonably, Thompson is giving himself a bit of a head start, setting off from Noirmoutier-en-l’Île on May 19, seven weeks ahead of the riders, and aiming to cover 30 miles per day to make it to the Champs-Élysées before the riders on July 29.

>>> Tour de France 2018 route: Alpe d’Huez and Paris-Roubaix cobbles return for 2018 race

That means Thompson will face 70 days on the road, which includes climbing a massive 28,000m as he traverses the big mountain passes in the Alps and Pyrenees.

As you might expect, Thompson is no novice when it comes to feats of ultra-endurance on two feet, including running 44 marathons in 44 days across 44 countries in 2017, raising £19,000 for mental health charities in the process.


Watch: Tour de France 2018 route guide


Thompson will once again be raising money for mental health charities Mind and Liveability, a cause which he says is close to his heart.

“I have many friends, family and ex partners that suffer and still do suffer with serious mental health issues,” Thompson writes on his website. “Some have tried to take their own lives and others battle through on mixtures of medication and levels of determination and courage that I admire greatly.

“These challenges and mental health focus started for these people. However I soon realised it was making me question my own mental health more and more.

>>> The hidden motor in your head: How mind training can make you ride faster

“I had also been around others suffering with much greater mental health needs than myself and had thought it would be disrespectful to talk about my mental health in the light of these. I didn’t suffer like they did, to me these days of self-isolation were few in comparison.

“I now realise it’s not a comparison. I realise that we all have mental health in the same way we have physical health and there will many levels within that. By talking we help ourselves, we help others, we help educate and we help to end the stigma that still exists.”

You can donate to Thompson’s effort through his Virgin Money Giving page.

We’ll keep you updated with Thompson’s progress when he begins his challenge in May

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‘Significant step forward in athlete welfare’: British Cycling forms new riders’ group

British Cycling announces formation of a Rider Representative Commission (RRC), featuring 16 riders currently on the Great Britain cycling team

British Cycling says that it has made “another significant step forward in the improvement of athlete welfare” with the announcement of the formation of a Rider Representative Commission (RRC).

The RRC is formed of 16 current Great Britain cyclists, who will represent the views of riders to various parties within British Cycling, including its board.

The list of riders comprises those from track, road and BMX, and includes some of GB’s Olympic and Paralympic champions, including Katie Archibald, Ed Clancy, Elinor Barker, Neil Fachie, Helen Scott and Sophie Thornhill.

The formation of the RRC comes as part of an on-going transformation of BC in the light of allegations of bullying and sexism.

“The purpose of the RRC is to represent the views of the riders to British Cycling’s board, the Executive Leadership Team and Great Britain Cycling Team’s Senior Leadership Team,” said British Cycling performance director Stephen Park.

“This will help to ensure that all areas of British Cycling can best support the riders’ needs, be directly informed about the rider experience and ensure the views of the riders are being heard with the relevant actions being considered.

“Ensuring athletes have a voice in the decision making process across all the Olympic and Paralympic sports is high on UK Sport’s agenda and I’m pleased we have been able make good progress in establishing our own commission.”



Park says that the RRC will enable riders to play a key role in making decisions and “have their voices heard on a wide range of topics”.

“Essentially, the riders have been empowered to provide input on decisions that affect them, such as equipment design and provision; major competition planning and team selections to name just a couple of examples,” said Park.

>>> British Cycling’s former chair Jonathan Browning also steps down as non-executive director

BC chief executive Julie Harrington said that the RRC signals progress in the re-shaping of the organisation’s management.

“The Rider Representative Commission demonstrates further progression against our 39-point action plan to address the findings of the Cycling Independent Review.

“We now have an appropriate mechanism for athlete representation to the senior management, as well as an engagement process to hear and take account of the views of all athletes.

“I’d like to thank the riders who have agreed to be involved in the commission and the senior management for welcoming the initiative so openly as we strive to become a world leading governing body.”

British Cycling Rider Representative Commission 2017-8

Katie Archibald (Women’s Track Endurance)
Elinor Barker (Women’s Track Endurance)
Alice Barnes (Women’s Road)
Sophie Capewell (Women’s Track Sprint)
Ed Clancy (Men’s Track Endurance)
Ellie Dickinson (Women’s Track Endurance)
Kian Emadi (Men’s Track Endurance)
Neil Fachie (Men’s Para-cycling Track Sprint)
Quillan Isidore (Men’s BMX)
Mel Lowther (Women’s Road)
Katy Marchant (Women’s Track Sprint)
Pete Mitchell (Men’s Para-cycling Track Sprint)
Ryan Owens (Men’s Track Sprint)
Helen Scott (Women’s Para-cycling Track Sprint)
Callum Skinner (Men’s Track Sprint)
Sophie Thornhill (Women’s Para-cycling Track Sprint)

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Magnus Cort Nielsen wins stage four of Tour of Oman, Van Avermaet keeps lead

Astana rider Magnus Cort Nielsen claimed stage four of the 2018 Tour of Oman after a hilly day that saw the peloton get whittled down before the finale

Magnus Cort Nielsen (Astana) sprinted to victory on stage four of the 2018 Tour of Oman on Friday.

The Dane took the victory from a group of around 25 riders, after the final climb of the day from Yiti to the Ministry of Tourism had reduced the size of the bunch.

Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) placed second, with fellow Italian Alberto Bettiol (BMC Racing) in third.

>>> Tour of Oman 2018: Latest news, reports and race info

Overall leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) finished in fourth spot to retain the his position at the top of the general classification.

The 2018 Tour of Oman continues on Saturday with the penultimate stage, and the one that will likely settle the general classification as it finishes with the testing climb to Green Mountain. The race concludes on Sunday, February 18.

More to follow…

Result

Tour of Oman 2018, stage four: Yiti (Al Sifah) to Ministry of Tourism, 117.5km
1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (Den) Astana, in 2-57-36
2. Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Bahrain-Merida
3. Alberto Bettiol (Ita) BMC Racing
4. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing
5. Rui Costa (Por) UAE Team Emirates
6. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin
7. Mark Christian (GBr) Aqua Blue Sport
8. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data
9. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert
10. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Cofidis, all same time

General classification after stage four
1. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, in 15-54-20
2. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana, at 9 secs
3. Nathan Haas (Aus) Katusha-Alpecin, at 13 secs
4. Gorka Izagirre (Esp) Bahrain-Merida, at 19 secs
5. Miguel Angel Lopez (Col) Astana, at 24 secs
6. Dries Devenyns (Bel) Quick-Step Floors, at 25 secs
7. Odd Christian Eiking (Nor) Wanty-Groupe Gobert, at 25 secs
8. Jesus Herrada (Esp) Cofidis, at 25 secs
9. Daniel Navarro (Esp) Cofidis, at 25 secs
10. Merhawi Kudus (Eri) Dimension Data, at 33 secs

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