Tour De France Tips: How To Win On Your Commute To Work

Our quick guide to becoming the best climber on a road bike

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This weekend, the Tour de France kicks off in the Gallic heartland of, er, Leeds. Expect much excitement, but don’t lose interest once the Tour has escaped back across the Channel — things are about to go up a notch, literally. This year’s Tour has five hill and six mountain stages, and, as any cyclist will tell you, a climb is the true test of a rider. It’s also often where a race is won.

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“It’s the part of a race where an attack can have the most impact and you can gain the most time,” Olympic silver medallist Lizzie Armitstead says. Here’s her rota of the training you’ll need to claim the Tour’s mountain-stage winner’s fabled polka dot jersey.

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1) Practise
“Use a climb that is more than 30 minutes riding away from your start point, so you get a good warm up,” Armitstead says. “Use the same hill so that you can measure your progress over time. Short, steep climbs will help improve your power, while longer, more gradual climbs help with your general condition and fitness.”

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2) The gears
“Maintain your speed and effort by changing gears with the gradients before you actually need to.”

3) Stand up (if you need to)
“The steeper the climb, the more time you will need to spend standing as it gives you more power for a short period of time.”

4) Pace yourself
“Learn where your limits are — you’ll do this during your training. When you get it right, pacing makes a big difference.”

5) Go for broke
“Most winning attacks go just over the brow of a climb because riders are relieved to be at the top and chasing an attack right away is mentally and physically difficult. So if you’ve got the energy and the end is in sight, it could be your chance to get away.”


Where to test yourself

l'Etape du Tour, July 20. letapedutour.com

Etape Suisse, 5-8 September. etapesuisse.com

Etape Cymru, September 14. humanrace.co.uk

Dare 2b Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, Harewood House, 4–6 July. festivalofcycling.org


Bicycle pictured is the Cannondale CAAD10 Black Ultegra ENVE Shop Build £5,100. kinokocycles.com 


Share your predictions for the Tour De France in the comments below


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