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.