Building aerobic capacity before race preparation

Last week the riders in the Power Meter Project 2007 performed the first series of critical power tests. One of them is Gonzalo Vilaseca who proved that he is a strong and light rider. Have a look at the tests results:

Test results – Week 1 (Gonzalo Vilaseca)

Critical Power Tests 5sec 1min 5min 20min Body Weight
Week 1 (Watt) 1105W 557W 357W 321W 73kg/160.9lbs
Week 1 (Watt/kg) 15.1W/kg 7.6W/kg 4.9W/kg 4.4W/kg  

Comments from Jesper Therkildsen:

I have dedicated the first 6 weeks for building a large aerobic engine since that is the single most important factor in most cycling competitions. In old days this time was e period with long slow distance training, but Gonzalo is going to test one of the newer training strategies with more intensive training. It’s a quite intensive training program with intervals every second day. These intervals are made to increase his VO2max and his endurance. There is also some work with power sprints, but these sprints don’t have high priority. 

By doing the intervals very frequently he will have a good chance to get familiar with the pacing strategy in these intervals and get a lot of small interval doses with a high O2 uptake. Thus, I expect that these intervals will increase his performance at 5 and 20min critical power. Well, but he asked for more anaerobic endurance and sprinting power? Yes, but in cycling races of 2 hours it is essential to have a high VO2 max and endurance. If he has that, he has a chance to get home with the peloton or make a breakaway. But if is limited in these two factors, vo2max and endurance, he will be dropped before they get to the final sprint. Thus, the primary goals for the first period are improvements in 5min and 20min critical power. His training amount will be in the range from 9 to 15 hours per week for the first 6 weeks.

I will adjust the program after 6 weeks of training, and then focus a lot more on race preparation with anaerobic intervals and sprints. This training will be done to optimize his performance at short, intensive races.

8 comments… add one
  • Jesper Link

    Is there any chance that you will publish the training programs that you give the specific rider? That way we, as interested readers and riders, will be able to catch some ideas and be able to integrate them into our own wintertraining now.

    Best regards,
    Jesper, Hammel Cykle Klub

  • Hi Jesper,

    I understand why you ask and you made me think one more time. I want to learn the readers to build and use training programs in a proper and individual way.

    I believe that people will make the best training programs and achieve the best results if they understand why the training program has the structure it has. If you just copy a personalized program it is very unlikely that it will suit you.

    I will share more details about training programs and intervals in the following posts on the other riders. I try to make a theme of each presentation, and the theme for this post was my reasons to do aerobic training, when Gonzalo asked for more anaerobic endurance.

    Ses i Esbjerg?

  • Jesper Link

    Thanks for the aswer! I only wrote because if you published their programs it could give me and others some inspiration for your own training. I know some has no clue about training and just drive. And some, like me, knows a little about training and has a good experience on how your body reacts on training and on how we shall “train ourself”. When this is said, it is always interesting reading articles like yours to get some good inspiration on how make our training more effective. That’s why I would like to here what you suggets your riders in the experiement.

    However, eventhough all the acticles etc. I have read, I always goes back to my 10 good hometrainer programs, that my trainer (Per Sandahl) gave me years ago. I have done these every year, and every year I seem to in good shape when the winter season starts. But if you don’t try anything new I believe you don’t have any chance to improve significant.

    Yes, my plan is to be their when the raceseason starst in windy Esbjerg. Will you be riding and in which class?

  • I only work as a coach so I am not riding competitions at all. But if I have the time for it I will love to see my boys do well in the crosswinds. My category B will be more than ready to punish their opponents… 🙂

  • Patrick Link


    thanks for your interesting articles.

    In what terrain are the CP-Tests made? Flat, climb, etc.

    It would be very interesting, if you present his planned training, what he really did, and the results. Every rider knows, that looking foward to a period is always different to looking back…

    Good luck Gonzalo, and great work Jesper!

  • Patrick,

    Thanks for asking. The tests are performed at flat terrain since that is where Gonzalo is going to compete in the spring. If he was supposed to compete in the mountains, I would have recommend testing there. I think it is important to make the tests and the training so similar to the competitions as possible.

    I understand your interest in knowing the complete program, but I prefer to keep my work with Gonzalo since it is a personal training program. Riders who were interested in participating had their chance back in December when I asked for volunteers. Nevertheless, I understand why you ask and as I said in a previous comment, I will try to share some more details about the training programs in the future, but not the entire program.

  • Gonzalo Link

    This is my fourth training week, and I thought I could post some comments.
    I stoped training in august because I was mentally ‘saturated’. I had almost forgotten the post-training pain in my legs, and now it’s back again and I love it.
    Comparing to previous years Im doing more intervals at this time of the season, in fact last year I only did endurance rides, which was boring, adding some intervals helps to make the rides more interesting.
    My 4h solo rides are more mentally than physically tiring, it’s not easy to ride 4h under cold and wind…ok,ok, this is spain so ‘cold’ here is like mild weather in northern europe.
    I feel Im improving every day!

  • Dear Sir
    I believe you are doing a tremendous job. I learned lot while taking key points with you’re commencing points about training. Thank lots the way you teach us to perform riders’ ability to win the competitions.

    Nalin Peries

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