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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, December 14, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

In politics stupidity is not a handicap. - Napoleon Bonaparte

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Stef Clement ends pro cycling career

Clement's LottoNL-Jumbo team sent me this:

Stef Clement retires as a pro cyclist. The 36-year-old Dutchman interrupted his preparation for the Tour de France in May due to physical problems and didn’t race ever since. After extensive medical research and the subsequent consultation between Clement and the team, it has been decided that the rider will get another position within Team Jumbo-Visma. He will, among other things, focus on nutrition and promotion.

Stef Clement

Stef Clement riding the prologue of the Tour de Romandie, Clement's last pro race. Sirotti photo.

“It’s not the way I wanted to finish my career. For fifteen years it has been my passion, hobby and work. I look back with pride and I achieved more than I ever thought possible”, Clement says. “If you are not sure whether a comeback is a sensible option, you start looking at alternatives. After the team offered me this position, this seemed the sensible thing to do. I am grateful to the team for this opportunity and I look forward to taking a new direction.”

Clement started his career at the Van Hemert Group in 2003 and then joined the Rabobank Continental Team, Bouygues Telecom, Rabobank, Belkin, IAM Cycling and Team LottoNL-Jumbo. On his list of achievements are four national time trial titles. In 2007 he took bronze in that discipline at the World Championships in Stuttgart. The 2018 Tour of Romandie, won by teammate Primoz Roglic, now appears to have been Clement’s last appearance as a professional cyclist.

INSCYD explains training for the approaching season

Team Bora-hansgrohe posted this update from performance analysis software maker INSCYD:

We are at the start of the new season, but before the first performance tests with INSCYD, our riders need to train for at least 2 to 4 weeks. This is really important, because in the first weeks after a long break we can observe huge changes in their physiological values. With the first benchmark tests of the season performed with INSCYD, we will set their starting point for the first preparation block. And that is why physiological parameters like VO2max, VLamax, percentage of body fat, functional movement screening and a complete health check will give us a good overview of where they are.

Based on the results of those tests, the second step of  their preparation will be individually tailored. Especially during the team training camps, there is a big risk that you have a 70:30 situation. That means that for 70% the group the training is perfect, but for 30% of them the load is too high or too low. And that is why INSCYD comes into play and help us to put the riders that can work together in the same group, or – alternatively – it suggests us which ones can already start their individual development.

There are also different approaches in training. You can use the first weeks of training to build-up a strong base by using volume as the main stimulus without any intensity at all, or you can combine volume and intensity to push their VO2max since the beginning. But if you do so, it’s really important to set the correct intensity and the correct intensity zones for the intervals. The result of too much intensity during these intervals could lead into an anaerobic stimulus with a low aerobic base. Being the beginning of the season, that can lead to a performance decrease during the camp or a decrease of their aerobic performance development.

That’s why, especially at the beginning of the season, it’s important to individuate and use the right intensity zones for the riders. In order to avoid the 70/30 situation, it is important to base the training intensities on those metrics we want to target in the following training blocks and races (VO2max, VLamax and FatMax) instead of just extrapolating them from the anaerobic threshold. In fact, to ensure that the training zones are correct and effective, we need to know exactly what the VO2max, the Vlamax and the FatMax of the athletes are. 

How cycling can contribute to slowing climate change

Bike Europe sent me this:

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The EU transport sector alone stands as the single biggest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting economic sector, exceeding 1990 emission levels by around 20% and accounting for about 25% of all GHG emissions. In the context of the COP24 Conference currently taking place in Katowice, Poland and with the worrisome climate forecasts, it’s time to get to the truth of what cycling is able to contribute to stopping climate change. The European Cyclists Federation (ECF) made that fact very clear recently.

“Achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 through a socially-fair transition in a cost-efficient manner.” According to the ECF this is the key sentence in the European Long-Term Climate Strategy that the European Commission published last week in Brussels. “ECF strongly welcomes this goal, as we see that the commitments made are in keeping with the environmental motivations that a large proportion of the 250 million European cyclists we represent hold.”

Next to the 250 million Europeans that cycle, more cyclists are needed to achieve the goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The ECF states that a quadrupling of the modal share of cycling in the EU is needed for that. “This could reduce C02 emissions by 555 million tonnes by 2050. This is roughly equivalent to the C02 emissions of the whole of the UK and Ireland combined for 2015.”

Breaking down ECF’s conclusion on what cycling is able to contribute to stopping climate change, brings the following truth; quadrupling the modal share of cycling means that EU’s total C02 emissions can be reduced by a level that the 71 million inhabitants of the UK and Ireland are responsible for. That’s no small contribution!

You can read the entire essay here.

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