Most of us would love to be Peter Sagan, at least just for one day.
Strong as an Ox, no handed monos and five green jerseys, from five appearances, at the Tour de France.
So if playing the role of Sagan for a day, at L’Etape Australia by targeting the green jersey sprint in Berridale, is on your agenda you’d better sharpen those sprinting legs.
Sprint training is hard but fun. It’s also very useful for any race you do, at any level.
Not many races are won solo. Even races won in a breakaway are often decided in a sprint from a small group.
It’s not about trying to be the next Robbie McEwen, it’s simply about getting the best out of yourself.
Here are three sprint sessions you can include in your training program but only do one of these sessions in any given week.
This one is almost like a gym session on the bike to help you develop explosive power.
On a flat stretch of road or on the indoor trainer slow down until you’ve almost stopped then, in the big chainring with the 12 to 14 tooth sprocket at the back, accelerate full gas, with you hands in the drop, for 20 seconds.
Take between three and five minutes to recover between each effort and aim for five to eight in one session.
The sprint in Berridale or in any race will start at a higher speed than your cruising training ride tempo. So we need to get accustomed to accelerating from a higher speed.
Professional cyclists have the advantage of being able to do this using a motorbike as their lead out train.
If, like me, the motor pacing isn’t an option take advantage of a slight downhill that leads to a flat stretch of road.
For the last 15 seconds of the downhill build your speed with an 80 per cent sprint then go all out, on the flat, for the final 15 seconds.
Again, take between three and five minutes to recover between each effort and aim for five to eight in one session.
The success behind many of Mark Cavendish’s wins has been his ability to accelerate, settle in at high speed, and then accelerate again.
That’s what these intervals aim to help you develop. They’re simple but painful.
Do four times 30 seconds on (at the highest tempo you can hold for 30 seconds), then 30 seconds rest (gently rolling your legs over). Take five minutes of gentle riding between sets and aim for three to five sets.
These will also help you establish a breakaway or bridge a gap to a breakaway.
The green jersey is the second most prestigious jersey at the Tour de France. And just like in Paris, winning the sprint classification is a chance to get on the podium in Jindabyne.
Being one of the most recognisable voices of cycling, Matthew Keenan regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia.
Matt is one of the two official voices of l’Etape Australia by Le Tour de France.