"Progress from process: What it takes to make it to the WorldTour"

Interesting article from Velonews on a young American’s 4 year training process culminating in a World Tour contract.


Summary - his coach crunched data to confirm what was necessary to jump from U23 to the World tour and then they just trained this stuff for 4 years. Simple! (not . . )

"So Wilson [coach] quantified the race performances he was seeing in the European U23 races, including those Barta was doing. Wilson was able to draw a few simple conclusions from the successful races:

  • To achieve a top-10 result on a summit finish, a rider must be able to ride, at a minimum, 20 minutes at 5.5-5.8 watts/kg after 3,000 kilojoules (kJ) of work.

  • Being able to ride for four hours at 4.0 watts/kg with less than five percent heart-rate drift was a gold standard for general aerobic capacity at the U23 European level.

  • Most of the riders graduating to the WorldTour strike a balance: They complete a winter training block to set them up for a successful year, and they come into the season with enough high-intensity training to handle race intensity. That translates to approximately 300 hours of training from November 1 to February 28. “It’s a simple metric, yet one of the most effective I’ve found in this pool,” Wilson says.

  • A rider must have the ability to be dynamic under fatigue. “Many of our athletes had the peak power values to be competitive in the top 10, but they lacked the fatigue resistance to access powers over threshold past 2,500 kilojoules of work.” Thus, this became a key area to work: top-end power after 2,500 kJ.


To help me get a grip on that, what would 2500 KJ mean in the real world? 4 hours tempo?

Probably more endurance than Tempo.

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One Big Mac.


I did a solo 4 hours at endurance pace a while ago and burned about 2300 kj.

I was holding my 175 watts fairly well but I’m pretty sure a 20 minute power test at that point would not have been very impressive . . . .

My take away from this and other references to “power after x kj” references I’ve been seeing pop up more frequently is this - for the longer effort parts of their training, pros START training after what for most of us are our longest rides. 3 hours warm up anyone? :wink:


Is that a valid training method? I could be faster than I thought…


For me, it’s a 5 hour Z2 ride.

I dropped this Will Barta article many months ago and adopted his coach’s ‘Tired Twenty’ interval into my own long Sweet Spot workouts. Fun times.

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It worked for many years for Chris Horner. :wink:

from a web browser you can easily search Workouts, select Duration > 3 hours, and then scan the list. It scales with your ftp… with my current ftp of 222W that means something like 4.5 hour tempo Hoffman+3 or 4.75 hour endurance Kailash. Or you can up the intensity and do it in less time - for example a 3.75 hour ride at .87 IF when my ftp was 260W.

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Today I did a little less than half that in 90 minutes at 205 watts. So figure three hours at 210ish watts? Power over time is work, these guys make a ton of power so they’re going through more kJ than we can in the same amount of time.

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A great way to get in dirty intervals is “Stravavals” as coined by Frank Overton.

On many (can’t do this every week) of my Saturday long rides I’ll make sure to throw in some tough segments into the route and some longer climbs near the end. Load them in the head unit and prepare to suffer.

My goal is to average high Z2/low Z3 overall depending on the day. It’s made a big difference in fatigue resistance and also mentally. I managed ~20min at just over FTP around 3500kj deep if I recall correctly and took a 4min KOM I’d been eyeing at over 4500kj plus a bunch of other segments in between.

Also a good way to make your friends respect the crown;)