SLONGO: 10 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS EVOLUTION
(The coaches Paolo Artuso and Paolo Slongo. @nokia_mobile and @sportplushealth @team Bahrain Merida) CAMBRILS (SPA): Meeting Paolo Slongo is just like bumping into an old friend. Patient, never moody, willing to debate with you frankly. He seems so far away from the stereotype of a coach who is only interested in the numbers. Instead, he is the kind of person aiming for moderating tensions, strengthened by his own high-level experience and by a placid behaviour. During the training camp in Cambrils, Catalunia, he spared part of the morning for us. The boys of the Bahrain Merida Team worked hard in a 6-hours long ride. We find Franco Pellizzotti and Gorazd Štangelj in the team car. Instead, Slongo himself is busy checking some files regarding the trainings, preparing the next trip away, on the Teide. He needs to sort out a couple of details about the hotel, but everything else is well-defined. He greets us in his cabin, the number 1104 inside Cambrils Park Hotel. It is the best place to have a quiet chat, since the accommodating structure is overwhelmed with under 20 female foot players of various nationalities during this period. They are going to participate in an international soccer tournament taking place within the city. Slogo in entering his eleventh year as coach among the professionals, it seems an entire life. He has already worked with great champions, some of which he is about to list below. It seems natural to ask him what has changed during ten years of activity From my point of view, it hasn’t changed that much. In 2008, we have probably been pioneers in the training field, with Liquigas. With Liquigas society, and along with Doct. Roberto Corsetti, we shaped and introduced in the team several figures, and I was part of the organogram as well. The goal was to avoid the presence of external trainers, which were very popular in those days. Afterwards, everybody adjusted. Useful improvements spread fast. For example, my figure, the coach, it wasn’t even contemplated at the time. It looked like teams were not interested. They all had their own trainers, with their own programs, and the athletes was supposed to show up at the fixed appointment in shape. It produced confusion. There were coaches with a moral, and other who did not. There were athletes who were not in line with the programs of the team. Hence, an hard situation to deal with. Nowadays a lot has been optimized. The society establishes the head of the trainers and you verify that the job is carried out correctly. We make sure that the training is followed 100% by the inner staff. Inside the team, the coaches have control over the athletes and in this way you avoid a lot of problems. How many cyclists does a coach assist? I follow seven of them. I suppose a coach can assist up to ten. The proportions athletes-specialists given by the UCI are correct. An athlete requires at least 2,5—3 hours per week. Every forty days we run the evaluating tests, especially during the first part of the season. Otherwise, we check upon the different critical powers. There are a lot of ways to avoid errors in the management of the training. We also use advanced systems such as SportPlusHealth. Therefore, thanks to the modern tools, you always have under control the situation regarding your cyclist’s status, isn’t it? I do. I know how to read the tools, about a specific wattage or speed. Running a test in steps, we come close to the breaking point, and I can see if someone has been working or not at home on anaerobic basis, in accord to the needs of a long-distance run. I can understand if an athlete has a basis or not. It is useful to avoid the risk for the athlete to turn off during certain long-distance races. And the weight is already under control? When Nibali needs to lose weight, we start from this premise. We know how much he burns during the training and the value of his basal metabolism. At this point, we have to multiply the expressed average wattage by a coefficient. Once we do this, I share the information with Doct.Magni, who calibrates the diet. In brief. The working methodology imposes a staff. How does it work and who are they? The organization gives you the possibility to focus on your sector. The feedback comes from all the professional figures involved. The physiotherapist, the osteopath, the nutritionist, the mental coach, the masseur, the doctor. And how are they coordinated? Are you the orchestra leader? I coordinate the work and we take a decision together, then it is my job to communicate it to the athlete. It turned out to be an effective system even in the occasion of the accident during the Tour. And how is Slogo taking the arrival of David Dailey, guru of the time trials? He comes from BMC school, where he gained several successes and the last world time trial competition along with Rohan Dennis, isn’t it? I have my autonomy. Obviously, I try to keep up with the times, but I believe in my methodology when in comes to my job. The coming of Australians and British brought confusion in the established point of view. I am a traditionalist, making the aerobic basis first, then anaerobic and carrying on with progressive loads of work. For example, David adopts a work I am inclined to consider as mixed. He starts right away in January, even with the anaerobic. It is a different approach. Anyway, between us there is a good coordination, we are just at the beginning of our working partnership. Of course, you always steal something from those you end up working with. It is a sort of mutual, positive contamination. No fights between schools of thought, then? By no means. Although, I believe that if you want to maintain yourself fit longer, if you look for a structured shape allowing you to undertake a great race, my method works fine. The results you obtained over the years are impressive. During these years I had the luck to train great champions: Aru, Landa, Basso, Sagan, Nibali, Viviani. I worked during field retreats and I brought them in the same gyms. I am talking about the road: Pordoi, Valparola, etc. I have a noted chronology about these periods in February, April, June; I gathered the data of all these great champions and their lactate at the end of the climb. The method of work manages to reduce your errors. There were champions who were too far ahead in their training and we stopped them. I consider fundamental to be credible with the athletes. Which values do you conform to? To the heartbeat in the morning, to maximum and minimum pressure, to the elasticity of the heart during the training. Obviously, to TSS and ATL as well. Who amazed you the most? Peter Sagan. He had two distinctive traits. He was able to work in anaerobic longer than others. He gave us very peculiar hints. And he recovered from the effort sooner. Now, about present time. This year a new, tricky challenge awaits you. In fact, you leave a tested path to compete in two relevant races. Are you going to have extra pressures? Let’s just say that I’ll be the one supposed to deal with this aspect. Vincenzo has to focus on one goal at the time. It would be an error to make too much calculations. We might get wrong one goal and the other. We made changes, but it is unavoidable. It has been some years since we made a significant break. This winter we registered a significant rest, useful for both mind and body. We have been able to practise in the gym regularly, with exercise finalized to strengthen heart, abs, dorsal, also given last year’s injury. Moreover, the first World Tour race is at the end of February. It means to have less stress now and more psychophysical energies which will come in handy later. Is the double commitment feasible at a high level? This year the two races, Giro and Tour, are designed so that you can do well in the both of them.The Giro is challenging in the second part and the Tour is flat in the first week.The body can reactivate in the break after the Giro. One of the rules of quality training is to know how to vary.How does the preparation change year after year? The noted chronology of Nibali says that every year we increase volumes and intensity.This is because you can keep the load better as you get older.If we were to give a figure, I would say that it is 3% of the volumes.Obviously, the training stimulus changes because otherwise the muscle becomes accustomed to a specific stress and would not have the same yield.However, we now expect a program made of racing retreats, unloading periods, gym with works on strenght. The path is traced.We just have to follow it. Try Sport Plus Health on Play Store or I Tunes
TRAINING: DOING IT WRONG WITHOUT REALIZING IT
Sometimes in life, and in cycling, it happens that you don’t feel good enough anymore. A method that was giving great results until that moment becomes unsatisfying, old. This is a common situation for amateur racers who are used to train autonomously and at a certain point they got beat by athletes previously slower than them. The answer is obvious: What happens? This is the moment in which you understand that the others started to train in a more modern and efficient way, maybe even with an athletic director. What are the practical differences? Is everyone just training more? We asked these questions to Giovanni Gilberti, a professional trainer who can guides us through this topic. What happens when an amateur cyclist contacts a trainer? As we are working with a person, first of all we have to understand him. We can easily measure his current condition. An example: if an athlete tells us that he is training thirty days per month we should worry already. He needs someone to guide him, and we should be that person. Often amateurs are training too much, ending up with an overtraining situation. Usually they can be very fast while they train, but they are disappointing while racing. Let’s make a step back for better understanding. How do we correctly analyze the athlete? First of all a sport doctor evaluates the blood tests, supported by a nutritionist to highlight deficiencies in vitamins B, D or iron. We should also keep in mind parameters like hematocrit or Cpk (creatine phosphokinase) which are telling us about muscular weariness. Then we should analyze white and red corpuscles. Even the cholesterol must be measured. After the screening we perform a physical evaluation test using heart rate and Watts produced, to be compared with older ones. If the athlete doesn’t have historical measurements, we try to use his old trainings and we analyze them using specific software tools (the one provided by SportPlusHealth is called Training Analysis) so that we can understand if he has properly recovered from the previous season, following a correct path of weekly rests and micro-cycles of load and unload. Once the physical conditions has been investigated, what happens? If the athlete is already in overtraining we must reduce his load and the intensity. It could be necessary to stop him and restart the preparation from the ground. The difficult part is to understand how chronic is this condition. It may happen that it is there since some season thus we could need months to properly recover. In the worst cases the athlete could also miss the entire season. It seems incredible but this happens if you never unload. Between the amateurs we can see this phenomenon happening even if the cyclist is not realizing it. There are different reasons for this. For example he could blame the bike, identifying a wrong reason for the problem. Are there other parameters to understand this situation? Sure, the doctor could measure the cortisol or the testosterone. Otherwise there are symptoms like chronic weariness, bad mood, weight swings and sleep problems. These are heavy news. How the cyclist is reacting to them? Most of them doesn’t accept these data as they feel themselves like superheroes. They should take a more scientific point of view. We cannot rely on people without the right knowledge. It is very important for the trainer to show data which cannot be disputed. This is the new idea growing now, giving more importance to the quality of our job. These new methodologies are deeply changing you approach. What happens inside of one athlete’s head? The first idea is: I am training less, thus I will become slower. The key point is when you realize that you conclude your training being less exhausted. This brings a better condition which will bring better results during the race. The psychology of the cyclist is very important, and it depends on the trust he feels for the trainer. The results are immediate if you use the meter, as you can directly start producing higher Wattages. How long does it take to learn the new technique? If I am good enough in showing to the athlete these concepts, in three months we already have some result. But if he doesn’t follow me at 100% it will take more time. Often, an additional hour of training is useless. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
IS IT POSSIBLE TO MERGE INDOOR WITH OUTDOOR TRAINING?
In this world of bicycles in incessant growth, I hear more and more often talk about theories that see the indoor component play an important role, especially in carrying out specific exercises. In that moment the question I ask myself is: is the nowadays athlete the result of a preparation that merges training on the road with indoor rollers? Is it possible that there are high-level athletes who practice mainly through indoor exercises? Or are these just fixations of some amateur cyclist fanatical of numbers? Let’s go step by step and find out how some high-level athletes use rollers. There are some, like Davide Martinelli, who know how to make a rather limited use of it. “In these months of the year I can’t train outdoors, because of the weather, the days that become shorter, or in some cases due to the presence of ice on the road. Hence, it is advisable to work on the rollers. It is scientifically proven that certain types of exercises, carried out indoors within an adequate temperature, are profitable. With modern rollers (those produced for 8-10 years) SFR exercises can be performed in a proper way. Thanks to this tool you can set the precise slope and the simulation is correct. For example, I can run SFR on a 5-6% climb at a pedaling rate of 50 rpm with 300 watts. The work is precise and there is no margin for mistakes”. “It’s more difficult to perform other types of work such as 40-20, 30-30 or 20-40 because the roller can not follow you instantly in the change of pace, it needs some time to adapt itself and not all athletes have top level rollers from 1,500 euros. Even less simple is to manage indoor maximal strength exercises because you go to express values up to 1400 watts (an amateur cyclist 1,200) and the roller itself could be affected. Here we cross a security-related discourse because the bike could move from the roller”. In detail: “Heavy-duty work is certainly feasible. Interval training and variations are more difficult, as well as the dynamic force sprint and explosive force“. The alternative options, however, are not lacking and are interesting: “You can also opt for a different kind of work. For example, if the outside temperature is low, I can go out during the hottest hours of the day (11: 00-14: 00) and return for indoor work (one hour of specific training) since the muscle works better with temperatures higher than 13-15 °. It happened to come back after 2 hours of training on the road and conclude with an hour of specific roller, not too intense, because the variations are difficult to carry out “. “You can perform a regular 3×10 threshold work at medium. Half an hour constant without interruptions, there are no cars or traffic lights to hinder the exercise. This is a plus for the roller”. The opinion of Davide about rollers is summarized as follows: “This is a valid option, for example, if one does not have the opportunity to go outdoors and has to prepare a competition despite having little time. Consider a person who works from 9 am to 17 pm, certainly he will not have free time. A solution of this type could be adopted: an hour of roller in the morning (difficult to perform work of intensity or strength) and then repeat with an hour of specific training in the evening “. In conclusion, a consideration to keep in mind: “There are people who can do even 3-4 hours on the rollers but I think the runner cyclist takes shape outdoors. There are a series of variables, microvariations, rhythm and other elements that complete the figure of the cyclist and which are indispensable for being part of a group “.
WHO WILL WIN THE INNSRBUCK WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP?
INNSBRUCK (AUSTRIA): The World Cup 2018 Austrian race presents itself tough enough to reduce the number of likely successful winners to a fewer number of contestants. It is a demanding contest, like you haven’t seen in a while, having nothing to share with the previous editions, when Peter Sagan shined. The Slovakian champion seems not to be included among the favourite ones, although he is not to be ignored, given his class. Two names earned the pole position: first, the French Julien Alaphilippe, who obtained extraordinary results in 2018 (Freccia Vallone, Classica San Sebastian, two stages during the Tour de France and the polka dot jersey, plus a series of other successes); second, the never-aging Alejandro Valverde, who is 38-years-old and still there, fighting at the highest levels. Given the recent past, Simon Yates has just won the Vuelta Espaňa, proving himself as one of the favourite ones. His victories in the one-day races aren’t of great level yet, but he is a talented boy and therefore has no obstacles on his way. At the Vuelta, all the strongest runners in the climb showed up at the start line. The South American Nairo Quintana, Richard Carapaz, Miguel Angel Lopez and Rigoberto Uran look particularly hardened. Concerning Italy, Vincenzo Nibali is a champion, always able to put his fantasy to good use. Gianni Moscon is the one in the most fitting form, having just proved his qualities by winning the Agostoni Cup and the Giro di Toscana. The racing circuit, along with its final 27% rise, is awaiting the aspiring champions from all around the world. The chosen ones from the other most important national teams in the World Cup The chosen ones to Spanish National Cycling: Alejandro Valverde, Enric Mas, Jonathan Castroviejo, David De la Cruz, Jesús Herrada, Ion Izagirre, Mikel Nieve e Omar Fraile. The chosen ones to French National Cycling: Julian Alaphilippe, Rudy Molard, Thibaut Pinot, Pierre Rolland, Anthony Roux, Romain Bardet e Tony Gallopin e Alexandre Geniez. The chosen ones to British National Cycling: Adam Yates, Hugh Carthy, Peter Kennaugh, Tao Geoghegan, James Knox, Ian Stannard, Connor Swift e Simon Yates. The chosen ones to Colombian National Cycling: Nairo Quintana, Miguel Angel Lopez, Rigoberto Uran, Sergio Henao, Winner Anacona, Sebastian Henao, Daniel Felipe Martinez, Rodrigo Contreas. The chosen ones to Belgian National Cycling: Greg Van Avermaet, Tiesj Benoot, Tim Wellens, Dylan Teuns, Laurens De Plus, Ben Hermans, Serge Pauwels, Xandro Meurisse.
DAVIDE MARTINELLI: PYRAMID INTERVALS… SMALL DETAILS, GREAT DIFFERENCES
There are specific exercises that cyclists perform but that require a high knowledge of the basis. One of these exercise is the training for increasing strength that all modern athletes perform regularly during their training week. Following closely Davide Martinelli we noticed an interesting detail that is also visible in this video. The Quick Step athlete in fact performs the specific exercise dividing it into 2 parts, a first part standing and a second sitting. Is there a correct way to do these exercises? “It depends on the type of work we are doing. Personally I do the repetitions of 40-20 (40 “of effort followed by 20” rest) where in the first part I’m standing, this because when I start the exercise I have to start from a state of absolute rest and push up to 95% of the maximal effort. By relaunching the seated action I would arrive at the required wattage intensity in much longer time and this would mean that I would not take full advantage of the 40 “session. In summary: “I perform the exercise on a 5-6% climb. As speed is very low I stand on the pedals, then in the second part I sit down and use the muscles that push me uphill” There is no fixed rule to carry out the exercise, what matter is its effectiveness. “A lot depends on the characteristics of the cyclist. There are those who do not get up almost never and those who do 30 “raise and 10” sitting. It all depends on personal characteristics and how you can make the gesture “. It is a high level physical practice so it is important to have the right concentration. “If you’re out of shape you do not have to do it … forget it. We are talking about a workout that requires a great psychophysical commitment and everything must be aligned in the best possible way “. The last test done with Sport Plus Health has calculated your threshold power in 420 watts. How many watts do you reach when train on pyramid intervals? “Starting from 420 watt I have to reach higher values such as 500 or 550 watt. The average watts for all the training should be 420 watt because we have to train for 40″ then rest for 20″. A very important parameter to take care of is that the training program must be calibrated on the current physical condition (this is why David performs a test every 20 days with Sport Plus Health ). “For example in June, I ran in the Italian Championship, I reach my top condition as I did some jobs even at 550 watts for 40″. Instead in January and February I stopped at 480 – 500. When I resumed in December I reached 450. In practice there are 100 watts of difference“. What are the best moments to train in this way? “First of all, you did not have to work hard the day before the 40-20 session. In the first day of work, doublets or triplets are usually programmed when the leg is still full. Or they should be included in a day where a regular cross-country 5-hour saddle job is planned. If you do the work of strength, the next day you should not do explosive work, because the muscle remains poisoned“. As anticipated also the psychological aspect is important. “You must be mentally charged. You make 3 sets of 8-10′ depending on the condition. When looking for the maximum 10′, instead if it is from maintenance or looking for condition 8 minutes “. Important to keep in mind these statements by Martinelli: “When you do the first sprint, you seem to feel good. For 3-4 minutes everything is ok and you feel strong. After 4 minutes you start to struggle a lot and finally the 8 to 10′ phase is very tiring”. In order to better manage this important phase of qualitative work, experience plays a considerable role. “Sensations are fundamental. To work well, you must know yourself. For example, in a day when you are not at the top I suggest to reduce the intensity of 20-30 watt and complete the program with the preset minutes. A matter of details but being able to train in the best way produces a difference that may seem minimal, but in reality, in terms of results, it is so great “. Finally, a fundamental concept that many should keep in mind. “You have to take care on how you train. It takes 5 days to recover from an important training session. Be careful not to exaggerate in the days before the goal. An extra workout can reduce performance. In the last week, before an important appointment, you can only do damage, better to rest with a full discharge “.
EUROPE-CANADA AND BACK… HOW TO FACE THE JET LAG?
Heinrich Haussler (25 February 1984) is an Australian of German origin. He is an expert athlete who obtain some good results, such as one stage at the Tour, one at the Vuelta and the Australian Champion title. An athlete used to travel the world and face important journeys also for cycling. Talking with him is like accessing a huge database. The athlete from Bahrain Merida team has just returned from the Canadian trip in Quebec and Montreal. Today he helps us to understand how to face these experiences that affect a lot of stress on an athlete. How many days do you need before the race and after the race to recover from the trip? “Coming to Canada it’s 6 hours time difference. Here we have faced 2 races, Friday and Sunday. We came in on Tuesday evening and this really does put a lot of stress on the body especially considering you have two and a half days to complete the assimilation of the time zone”. “Normally I think it takes six to seven days to adapt to the normal rhythm. Days where you have to sleeping good, find the right feeling with the bike and so on … but arriving two days before the race, it was really really hard to be mentally ready immediately “. Haussler reveals us some important pre-adaptation details. “If you have time or you are at home and your situation allows you not to work or you do not have to do anything else and you do not have any children then you can already start “adjusting the time”, maybe doing your workout very late in the afternoon and going to bed more late. The body is already thinking of change and you can adapt slowly to the new rhythm. As I said about sleep, you have to sleep even if you can not do it because of other family or work situations. Go to sleep very late, for example at two or at three and then sleep until eleven. As I said this is not for everyone, but in general I go to Canada for two races and we stayed there only seven days before returning to Europe “. The return seems to be simpler. “I find that getting back to Europe is always a bit easier”. Jet Lag and performance: “Racing in Canada is not easy, especially in the first race on Friday. Certainly the Jet Lag affects the performance, you do not have the power or the sprint because your body thinks it’s time to sleep. ” What are the tips for cyclists who face certain commitments: “In addition to trying to adjust at home at the time zone, train yourself also when you land and remember to eat accordingly. For example, if you land in a country in a different time zone, in the morning, it’s really hard to try to stay up all day. That’s why we do a workout to stay in motion. You must try not to go to sleep early and stay awake for as long as possible so that your body can slowly adapt to the new time zone. As for food it is important to drink a lot of water, stay hydrated, and even eat in the new time zone. ” “A lot of cyclists do this maybe three four times a year with Canada, Australia and other country. For me, Australia is even more difficult to deal with ten hours of time difference, which makes things even more complicated. When I was younger, I had less trouble adapting easily. However, even on this occasion the rule of a day of adaptation for every hour of time was worth. So in Australia you would need 10 days to adapt 100% to the new time “. Download SportPlusHealth
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