Updated 5th March 2021 How to survive and be successful in cycling stage races
These tips are based on my own experience and observations as a competitor, Coach and Masseur while working with Amateur and professional cyclists and teams.
I have used some of these principles to coach winners of most stage race worth winning in Ireland. This includes winners of a number Of mens Ras, 6 Ras Mumhans, Junior Tour of Ireland and other stage races
1 One stage at a time
Take it one stage at a time… this is one of the most important tips.. Forget about the big mountain stage tomorrow or three or four days away.. Just focus on getting through each stage really well. Tomorrow or yesterday do not matter when you are doing 80kph descending a mountain or in the gutter in a side wind. You have to operate in the NOW!
2 Positivity and goals
“Winners make goals losers make excuses.. Prof Aiden Moran
Stay positive, set some goals for each stage. Can you win stages or the overall. Can you target the Team, Mountains, U23 or points classifications. If struggling with poor form can you just challenge yourself to stay with the bunch.
3 Eat like a cyclist
Get your nutrition right, stage races can be eating competitions and major stage races like the Giro or Tour de France have been lost on days when the rider didn’t eat correctly and blew up. Vary it to avoid boredom but stick with food you are used to. You need to fuel for energy during the stage and recovery post stage.
Learn More here
Keep your immune system healthy
Stress and poor Nutrition on top of the exertions of daily stages can play havoc with your immune system. This can lead to colds and chest infections during the race. Follow guidance on good nutrition and learn how to switch off following stages. Get good sleep and relax in the evenings.
Be careful of too much caffeine whether in Gels or coffee. Caffeine can negatively affect sleep which will seriously impact on recovery. Too much Caffeine could possibly increase stress hormones which can affect your immune system during a stage race and cause illness.
Switch off after the stages. When the stage is finished have some quiet time to yourself away from all the talk of the race.. I worked with a few professional teams as masseur.
The big difference between the pros and amateurs were that after stages the amateurs rode the race again and again when back in the hotel by constantly going over the stage. The pros usually discuss what they have to from the stage and then relax.
5 Active recovery
Especially If you don’t have a massage therapist working with the team, do an easy cool down after each stage to assist recovery. This will reduce the pain and muscular stiffness in the first part of the following stage.
Tour De France
Tour de France Cyclists Cool Down