In between the days off of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are those who, with constancy, have carried on with their preparation and even managed to put together two 5-hour long training sessions, on the 30th and 31st of December. A veritable tour de force that, however, perfectly fits the course of action within the fitness preparation we are now going to explain better. Our man here is, again, Davide Martinelli, SPH ambassador.


“Two days of base endurance at the end of December have become a tradition for me. I could count on the presence of a large group of amateur cyclists in my area, in the province of Brescia, and of other pro riders. From a mental point of view it is very important to face one day at a time and plan the route accordingly. To me, it is easier to cope with two days of training in a row – like it happens by then- than tackling workouts that are interrupted by a rest day”.

You may ask yourselves why during this time of the season legs are loaded with so many kilometres. It is quite simple to explain.

“I finished the first training camp feeling quite tired, as normally happens at the end of those camps. After that, I had some days of recovery. Then, I fitted in a couple of days of quality riding and very few high-volume rides. Hence, a quality endurance recall, on the 30th and 31st of December, was exactly what I needed. It is important to know how to mix quality and distance. We usually cut down on ‘quality’ quite considerably during the month of December. From now on, it will instead increase, more and more”.

How can we summarize the work done until now?

“Since the third week of November five weeks have gone by, with about 3500 km pedalled. An excellent building of base endurance. It is without a doubt, the house has to be built from the foundations up; I want my foundation to be really strong. Starting from Oman (13-18 February) I have not focussed on very high quality until now. During the next training camp we will tackle long distances again. In the third camp, at the end of the month, we will definitely step up the game with some high-intensity sessions. The antepenultimate and the penultimate week prior to the racing debut are instead dedicated to quality. Up to 20-25 days before the race we try not to overdo it in terms of quality, and now we are still 40 days away”.

From the point of view of the training analysis, can we say that your index of fatigue is quite high.

We are in a period during which we have to load up with some serious training; even if we feel tired, we keep going. It is a type of physical fatigue that has effects more at the metabolic level than at the muscular level because few training sessions push above the threshold. You feel tired like when you don’t sleep enough. This is the phase when we are building basic volume, a lot, but then we know that a period of recovery will come and the fitness level will step up”.

At this time of the year, Davide is still working hard with gym sessions.

“It is true, I am still doing some workouts in the gym, floor exercises with low weights. I believe it is something that should be carried out also during the season. Gym workouts start to show their benefits after 7 weeks of practice ; this is why, in my opinion, the classic 4 weeks of gym training are not very useful”.

You are very young and yet you demonstrate some confidence in what you are doing.

“I have worked with, and learnt a lot from, a number of professionals involved in the fitness training like Maurizio Mazzoleni, or my current coaches at Quick Step Floors. As a student, I attended a Physical Education High School, that educates on these subjects. Over the good base of knowledge I had, I just keep myself informed by reading books, but much less on the internet which is often rather a source of misinformation. Also, I keep asking the coach to explain me why we are doing a type of work in a certain way. The planning is done in a medium and a long term and I like to understand the reasons behind what we do”.

You know what I would like to say? We have to trust our coaches. Perhaps we don’t always understand how they have planned the training in a long term. Every athlete follows a route based on a different programme. We work in a very specific way, by analysing the characteristics of the athlete, the course of the race we have as an immediate target and all goals to achieve in the long term. We always work backwards. What does this mean? That if the target is on a specific date then we plan the whole preparation by taking as a reference the date we are interested in: the last week is always just for recovery, a few recalls of quality training, fewer hours and fewer strength workouts; the two weeks before the recovery week are instead fundamental, with a lot of quality workouts and many hours in the saddle. “It is not as easy as it looks, but that’s why coaches exist”.