The Making of a Pro Tour Rider

Super interesting look behind the scenes at the 3-4 year development of Will Barta.
Some eye-opening numbers and workouts.

Also interesting when compared to published data of other amateur-to-pro, such as Pinot.


Thanks for sharing, I especially enjoyed the performance benchmarks, those are amazing:

  • 20 minutes at 5.5 to 5.8 W/Kg after 3000 kJ was a minimum for a top-10 on a summit finish
  • 4 hours at 4 W/Kg with less than five percent heart rate drift is a gold standard for general aerobic capacity at the U23 European level
1 Like

Regarding the “Tired 20”:

“We were training to compete, not to produce the best 20-minute power… We wanted him to make the most competitive selections and get dropped after, rather than getting dropped before things heated up”-coach Nate Wilson


Sorry…another great quote. Coach Chad @chad has hinted at this from time to time but, it’s worth noting that other sources see the same thing:

“I believe that sometimes athletes are doing the right work, but the timeline is one they don’t have the patience for… always be critical of the work you are doing, but if you arrive at the conclusion it is good work, be willing to see the timeline through.”-Coach Nate wilson

The Specialized guys mentioned this in the aero podcast — referring to sprinters — but I didn’t really understand the concept, e.g. being kJ restricted. This article made it very clear and something I never thought about — training power at different time intervals:

  • The ability to be dynamic under fatigue was also important. I didn’t do a good job of quantifying this one, but one sentiment was clear – many of our athletes had the peak power values to be competitive in the top 10, but they lacked the fatigue resistance to access power over threshold past 2500 kJ. This was a key area to work, top-end power, but after 2500 kJ of work.

I heard about this a million years ago in regards to Italian races. That most cyclist could match the numbers of the pros — when totally fresh. The key was to able to do it after 4-5 hours of riding. Like the Italian races of old, where they would ride around for 4 hours and then totally drill it all out for the last hour.

I’ve never consciously done this but it makes total sense. Will have to start doing more of it after my A race.
(Like doing Pendleton and then a bunch of VO2 intervals. :tired_face: )

Also interesting was that coach and rider were most likely not doing 80/20 training. Perhaps in the very early winter months, Nov-Feb had ~20hr/wk but then moved on. You can’t be in a polarized plan when your “bread and butter” are Tempo/Z3 workouts:
“…a series of short, hard accelerations straight into a block of steady tempo…a workout we were able to do frequently and at high volumes all throughout the winter.”

Looking at the Pinot numbers from his first couple of years as amateur/pro, he most likely was doing polarized, which makes me think if this might be more of a baked-in Euro mentality vs. “New World”? :man_shrugging:

1 Like

I think one of the big mistakes of us regular joes is trying to take too much what pro guys do and inject it into our training (not that we really train but I digress). Reading threads here and everywhere most are really overly concerned that they are missing something. 80/20, HIIT, SST…makes my head spin. What works for that guy sometimes doesn’t really work for me as my life stress is totally different.

Literally pick something and just stick with it. The biggest mistake we make is not following something through and seeing if it works for us or not. We can take tidbits of info here and there to steer us in the right direction. But we will never probably be doing the correct things to reach our potential. That’s my take on myself at least.