Now that all the hard work has been done it’s time to freshen up to be at your best on Saturday 2 December.

In previous articles, I’ve covered building the base and the specific intervals, which is the cake of your fitness. The taper puts the icing on your cake so you’re ready for the L’Etape party.

The final month leading up to the event is critical for putting the polish on your fitness.

Makes sure every pedal stroke has a purpose, even if the purpose is an active recovery ride, and make the hard session count.

The objective in weeks four and three out from L’Etape is to push out some of your best numbers in watts produced when doing intervals while there’s still enough time for your body to adapt to the stress and recover for event day.


By the time you reach 10 days out from the big day all the work is done. Your fitness gains are only going to be through freshening up while ensuring you do enough on the bike so you don’t lose any of those hard fought gains.

At this point trying to squeeze in one or two more big sessions won’t make you faster but it could result in you getting run down and sick.

  1. In the last 10 days reduce your training volume by 40 to as much as 60 per cent.
  2. Have at least two days completely off the bike but not more than four.
  3. In this tapering, the block does two rides that include a few 30-second to one-minute anaerobic efforts or a handful of short sprints.
  4. Do one ride of three hours but make sure it’s at a low intensity.
  5. The day before the event do a 60-90 ride at a low intensity but include four 30-second efforts at 90 per cent to open the legs and lungs up.

If you’ve never done a taper before I recommend trying it for an event or ride you have planned well before L’Etape.

I look forward to seeing you in the Snowy Mountains. Good luck.

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.