Pro preparation: how does it work?

Edoardo Pasini and Maurizio Mazzoleni, physical trainers of the Italian-Japanese team NIPPO Vini Fantini, explain what happens during the professional cycling season and the training that’s needed to prepare for big races.

 

This professional cycling team races in 4 continents, 11 months a year, with over 180 race days. The season begins with the training retreats in November, December and early January. Training continues throughout the year, also monitored remotely via “Selfloops”. This online platform allows the team riders to upload their performance data, which is viewable in real time by the physical trainers and the team’s sports directors.

The racing season starts in January in Argentina and Australia, taking advantage of the summer in the southern hemisphere, and ends in October or November, usually with races in Asia, in Japan (Japan Cup) and China.

 

Winter preparation

During winter training you tend to focus more on building a consistent aerobic base as the foundation of the entire cycling season. This needs training sessions where we clock up high kilometres at medium-low intensity. It works out at an average of 95 km and 4 hours per day, with a pattern of 3 days of high intensity training and one day of lower intensity with shorter distances and times, helping to ease the physical stress and work towards developing fitness. 

 

The routes

During winter training we prefer mixed routes, preferably rolling terrain or with gradients on average between 6 and 8%; as training progresses you can tackle more challenging climbs and thus accustom your body gradually.

Average speeds stay quite low, especially during early preparation, while speed ability is developed in the later stages. During preparation it’s best not break the training routine, but to reduce the intensity once or twice a week, reducing the hours and kilometres per session, along with functional training and muscle-building work in the gym.

 

The saddle

The saddle must be the right size and allow the rider to avail of optimal support and smoothly transfer power to the pedals. This puts the rider in the best possible condition to cover all the kilometres ahead, whether in preparation or in the toughest races, and helps prevent physical problems like back pain and breathing difficulties.

An uncomfortable seat in fact compromises the correct cycling position and hinders pedalling performance, movement biomechanics and the rider’s overall output. This is why the NIPPO Vini Fantini team relies on a highly experienced partner like Selle Italia, always intent on combining new technology with rider comfort.

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