Tour of Flanders training plan

Ok, for various reasons I’m not going to be able to do a major European sportive next summer. So, a buddy and I have set on the Tour of Flanders in April instead.

Here’s the course profile:

So, lots of flats, with typically short, punchy climbs. But it is pretty long - c.240km.

Obviously, this is now a different scenario to 160km in the Alps in June/July.

I’m currently following an MV sweet spot program with my A event set for start of July.

Given how things have now changed, what would people recommend? My friend, who is as old school as chalk and blackboards, is of the ‘loads and loads of z2’ opinion. But that isn’t terribly practical over the winter whilst working full time.

For reference, I can probably spare 10-12 hours per week (Max), am at c.3.7w/kg, and don’t have much spare weight to lose!

Thanks in advance

For Liege Bastogne Liege 2019, I went with SSB - Sustained Power Build - Gran Fondo speciality. I know they’re longer climbs, but I was talked out of “rolling road race” by more educated people than me! Conditions and equipment were my issue in the end, rather than my legs!

I hoped to do Flanders next year*, and let plan builder do it’s stuff based upon me categorising it as a Gran Fondo. Short punchy climbs yes, but at my level at least, it’s an endurance event.

*Not signing up as I don’t believe we’ll be out of covid by then, unfortunately.


Did Flanders a couple of years back on the TR sustained power approach and GF specialty. Worked out ok. The high cadence optional drills under heavy load was real gold for getting over the cobbles. Equipment choices for Flanders are critical: [Top Tip] tighten and threadlock every damned bolt on your bike… minimum tighten and threadlock anything on your contact points. I went with 25mm tubeless… probably should have gone up a couple of mm. C.f. the cadence issue above. Go as large as you can on the cassette. I was only 28/36 at the smallest. Would have like to have had a 32 on the back on a couple of the bergs…

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Thanks for the advice. I’ve got a Mason Definition with Conti 28s on it and an 11-32 cassette, so the bike could have been made for the event. It’s the rider who’s all but certainly the weak link :rofl:

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When I did the Full Flanders and LBL it was pre my interval training and it was just loads of riding and as much elevation as possible and the rollers (shorter but more constantly intense) when it was ice & snow. A year later I did the 312 following a shorter interval plan with extended riding at the weekend.

I couldn’t really say what was better but they both worked.

I have a very complex relationship with LBL… I hate ride it… frequently. I much rather the Amstel the week before but often find myself missing the lottery on that one and going for the LBL instead. I think that I have only done the LBL once with my first TR plan under my belt.

I hated it as much as I ever did and wondered for the life of me just what the hell all that TR stuff was buying me that year… Then I got it uploaded on Strava and had knocked minutes off all the climbs. So it was true what LeMonde said about it never getting easier.

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I was getting ready to buck that Le Monde trend cycling was getting faster as it was getting easier post my own Wee C but this global BC has come along and messed up things :rofl:

When I did the LBL I magically appeared in rural southern Belgium to do 100miles. The truth of it, the first 60miles was in constant rain and the Garmin failed and I used the spare for the last 100. #IfItsNotOnStrava. I’d love to do it again and fill in the gap👍

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I suppose I will probably end up doing it again… but only if I can get over this plateau I seem to have landed on.

I only finally worked it out what it was that bugged me about the LBL compared to the Amstel while heaving my guts up on the Keutenberg in Aprli 2019. I mean Valkenburg is a more charming place than Liege/Luuk for sure. The courses are separated by what? 1 border and 50kms…! The weather is a wash on both and the organization is pretty much equal. Sure the road conditions are far better for the AGR, but for goodness sake I learned to ride in Ireland; a stranger to smooth tarmac. No the reason, I think, is that three times during the first half of the 20th century the barbarian hordes chundered along the LBL axis. The marks are left in the towns and landscape. There are odd discontinuities and absences that are like an unscratchable itch. You might not actively notice them but there is a sort of cumulative jarring effect. It is probably more affecting if you are familiar with the AGR route…

So now the bloody thing has become a pilgrimage :roll_eyes: :laughing:


Did AGR last year, fricken loved it! Before TR though, did the 200km version and struggled towards the end. Want to try the longer one now for sure. Did Omloop this year, mid TR plans, somewhere early general build iirc. Held NP about 30w higher, although was shorter at 150km. On the plan side, I did LV but supplemented with a second long easy z2 weekend ride. That can fit the mould of what your mate wants @RecoveryRide. Think that was right for the event really as it was hard on the flat(ish) cobbles sections but really punchy on the climbs so many repeated efforts to manage.

Yer equipment choice, 52/36 and 11-30 was good for me around 4w/kg. Had 26mm spesh tyres which held fine, could have dropped pressure a bit, went with 78/80psi f/r at 78kg. Wider would have been lovely though!


I really do think the sustained power and gran fondo specialties will help you out. It’s what I’ve gone with the past 3 years.

Personally, I do the 176 KM version. The longest version requires a morning bus ride out to Antwerp just to get an extra 50 KM of pan flat riding alongside very busy roads in the pitch black. The 176 KM starts and ends in Oudenaarde and starts at 7 AM as the sun rises. And you don’t miss anything. There are no extra climbs or cobble sections on the longest route.

Other than that, I’ve ridden it on 25 mm tires every year. This next spring I’ll do it on 28s. Watch your pressures and make sure all your touch points are dialed in because it’ll add up. Also, stash a couple ibuprofen or tylenol in your pack. I’ve gotten headaches from the cobbles before :rofl:

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