INSCYD interview ahead of the first monument of the season
You know spring has finally sprung when it’s finally time for Milan-Sanremo. Although we became very close to winning the Primavera in 2017, we have still been looking for how to get that edge for what is considered one of the weirdest and trickiest race of the whole season.
“We’ll focus on Peter and Sam for this race and not on a true climber,” says BORA – hansgrohe coach Dan Lorang. “And for this goal, we have been working on the endurance and economization of both riders, so that they are able to save carbohydrates, particularly for the last part of the race. On the Cipressa and the Poggio they will need to produce a huge amount of power over some long and intense minutes, meaning that they will need that amount of energy after 7 hours of racing.”
In order to fine-tune the effort required for those sections, the performance analysis tests we did with INSCYD have been crucial. “By doing these tests on both riders, we were able to predict the amount of energy needed for the whole race and judge how good their economisation was. We did these tests eight weeks before the race and that gave us enough time to adapt their training to the specific needs of the race.”
For a race like la Primavera, explains Lorang, it was important to build up the VO2 max to a high level (higher threshold, better recovery, higher fat utilisation and good economisation). But at the same time, it was important to balance the VO2max with another performance metric super important for long events like the Primavera, the VLamax (the rate of lactate accumulation).
“Again, the INSCYD tests gave us a good idea over the VO2max and the VLamax of our riders," says Lorang. "Specifically, the tests helped us to define the right racing strategy for both riders because obviously they have different metabolic profiles and we can use them for different race dynamics. We also made some simulations of how a different metabolic profile would change the abilities of the riders and how this could influence their performance in the race. For example: what would happen if we go down with the VLamax of about 0.10 mmol/s with the goal to increase the threshold power and to optimise the fat oxidation? What would that mean for his sprint ability at the end of the race?”
Our coaches also focused on Peter and Sam’s W/kg for the requirements over the Cipressa and the Poggio. The goal was to be able to keep them with the best climbers over those climbs in case the race dynamics went I that direction. However, for a race that is almost 300km long with hills at the end, training the aerobic system and the fat combustion was crucial, but so was the ability to “change gears” and swap to a high energy production after 6 hours of racing. There’s no other way to phrase it: Milan-Sanremo is a tricky one to plan and to win.
“Saving energy as long as possible through a good tactic and a proper nutrition strategy with the use of a high-performing fat metabolism will be key,” says Lorang. “The race will last almost 8 hours in total, and in this time the muscles must be ready to resist a lot of fatigue, which is a little bit unusual compared to the other races during the year.”