Cycling South Africa News
South African 1, 2 at Tour of Rwanda, Lill Takes the Tour Win
26 November 2012 – South Africa’s national road cycling team stuck to their game plan and claimed their first victory at the 2012 Tour of Rwanda when Darren Lill retained the yellow jersey after the seventh stage to claim the overall win with compatriot Dylan Girdlestone finishing in second place. The Tour of Rwanda ended on Sunday in Kigali with a stage of 124,3km.
After starting in Kigali nine days earlier, international teams toured the scenic and hilly Rwandan countryside to span 876 kilometres in total, starting with a Prologue on Sunday 18th November followed by eight stages.
For Lill, who was not feeling up to peak fitness prior to the Tour after recovering from a virus, the victory was a pleasant surprise.
“This was an unexpected win for me,” said the 30-year old from Cape Town. “I went as part of the team to help the younger guys, so to claim the overall victory has come as a surprise!”
Lill captained the 6-man national team to victory in his first Tour of Rwanda. “It was a good tour, with challenging stages, and great terrain, which made for positive racing. There is fantastic talent in Africa, but I think my experience in international racing, and being a mentor to my younger teammates gave our team the edge, especially when we cannot use race radios.”
National team manager for the Tour of Rwanda, Ian Goetham was supremely impressed with the team’s performance on his first international outing with the squad. “We had very good days that were well planned, and we succeeded,” said Goetham. “The team camaraderie was very high, and they all understood the goals of the tour. From stage one, the initial plan was to get the yellow jersey and win the tour.
“It was a brilliant team effort, with each one of the six riders contributing to the team’s success. An overall victory for Darren and a second place for Dylan is an excellent accomplishment. David (Maree) sacrificed a lot to work in front, and Avery (Arendse) and Reynard (Butler), both new to international racing, contributed a lot for us to keep the yellow jersey. Shaun (Ward) kicked off the tour with a stage in the yellow jersey [after his combined efforts of the Prologue and stage one, with Girdlestone only seven seconds behind in the GC at that point]. Darren was an excellent team leader.”
Further to holding the top two positions in the top ten of the final GC (general classification), South Africa also won the Team competition. “Considering that this team spends most of the year representing other teams within the country, they worked very well together as a unit. The quickest times of the top three riders in each stage resulted in a team win for us as well.”
Cycling SA’s road cycling director Hendrik Wagener was very pleased with the results. “We always hope for a win when we send a team to an international event. To have a first and second place in the final overall GC is a great achievement, and gives us a great base to build on in the early stages of our aim to take part in more African events, and of course, some valuable UCI points.”
Summary of Results – 2012 Tour of Rwanda – Overall GC
I’ve always loved the ‘marginal gains’ side of cycling and triathlon. I had a heart-rate monitor shortly after Chris Boardman started using one. I was the first in the UK after Simon Lessing to have the top-of-the-range Aquaman wetsuit (I still use it). I’ve always read countless magazines looking for the latest training secrets or nutrition products that would help me go faster. However, to attain excellence in any field, whether it is sport, art or work. it is vital that we focus on the basics and doing them exceptionally well before progressing on to the complex stuff. A straw poll at the coaching workshop I delivered last week suggested that most athletes had never had the opportunity to work on the basics. Certainly, as an athlete, sport scientist and coach I have been guilty of looking at the ‘marginal gains’ before it was appropriate to do so. It has taken me many years to recognise that this was a flawed approach.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll explore the basics of cycling performance, starting off with ‘The Snickers Paradigm’ then, progressing on how to plan training for the forthcoming season. Hopefully, it will help you reflect on what you do in your own practice and make changes if required. If you’ve got any questions, suggestions, wish to agree or disagree please feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email. I promise to respond.
What makes a complete athlete? What are the skills, physical attributes and mindset required? You may wish to write down what you’re thinking before reading on and reconsider them later.
Doing the Fancy Stuff
Recently, I started coaching a 14 year old. Hmmm, a blank canvas, I thought. “what if he is selected for the Olympic talent programme. I need to find out how the programme coaches plan and prescribe training for youngsters, to ensure that how I coach the rider reflects what they’re doing”. Luckily, working at National Cycling Centre , I was able to pester Olympic Talent Coach Tim Buckle. As a result he invited me to a seminar for young riders and their coaches on exactly that subject. Although, I didn’t gain any new information, what I did learn was how to present that information. Tim’s genius was to make planning and prescribing training simple, practical and relevant to his audience.
“Eureka” I thought. Most of us need to fit our training around a busy life; amateur athletes have more in common with 14 year old school kids than Olympic athletes, i.e. limited time to train, many life demands, no professional support teams and limited access to coaches. Why had I been looking at what works for elite athletes when it’s more effective to look to how the best in the business develop youngsters? I had made the same mistake as Kerrison, starting at the top and working down, rather than starting at the bottom and working my way up.
I’d love to continue with Kerrison’s cake baking analogy; however, Buckle buggers this up by using an alternative one, “The Snickers Bar”. He wants to produce riders with the fundamental skills required to progress to compete at a higher level and marginal gains doesn’t come into his equation. So what is the “Snickers Bar”?
The Snickers Paradigm
Old habits die hard and I like to sound clever so I’ve advanced Buckle’s method of developing young riders by calling it a paradigm. Don’t look down the page just yet; Describe a Snickers Bar (a Marathon bar if you’re old and from the UK). What does it consist of?
Yes…. nuts, nougat, chocolate, caramel, and then the wrapper! However, unless all of these elements are present, the Snickers Bar does not exist. If any bits are missing, it’s not a Snickers! If it’s not a Snickers, you ain’t moving to the next level. Simply, the Snickers is the foundations of cycling performance. As I’m Scottish, the next level would be to batter the Snickers, deep fry it and then serve it with full-fat ice-cream. The world class marginal-gains cherry on the top Snickers Bar.
The Snickers Paradigm
I’ve used mainly cycling examples here, but it’s easy to apply to any sport.
The Wrapper- is work ethic. The wrapper holds everything together and it stops the bar from melting. There are many youngsters coming to sport wishing to follow in the footsteps Brad Wiggins, Lizzie Armistead or the Brownlee’s. What they don’t see is the sheer hard work and commitment that these athletes put in to reach the top. Every endurance athlete must learn to love and want to work hard. Training in mid-winter in freezing temperatures isn’t much fun after all.
Have you ever got back home tired, wet, cold and hungry? The blood starts to flow back into your fingers and toes, resulting in excruciating pain! 2 hours later after being in a sleeping bag, under a duvet, and having the heating on full you are just starting to warm up. Is it a reason to brag to your mates how hard you are or an excuse not to go out the next day?
A summer evening. Life is great. Everyone is out on their racing steeds, gunning it at 50km.h. Going through a roundabout, a car pulls out and you are stranded a few meters out the back. Just then, a crackpot decides to drive at the front of the group and you can’t close the gap. It gets bigger, there’s no way you’ll get back on now! Do you sit up and give in? Or do you imagine you’re Philip Gilbert out front in the Ronde with a 2 minute gap to close?
A Skills Session
Training when you don’t want to or looking at adversity as an opportunity to improve is a prerequisite for success. It takes time to develop, discipline and support from others to maintain, but without a serious work ethic endurance sport is probably not for you.
The Caramel- Are you brave? Can you go down a 20% descent with the brakes off? If a scary mad Kazakhstani leans on you, do you push back or do you end up in the gutter? Me? In the first instance, you wouldn’t see me for the rancid smoke coming from the burning rubber from my brake pads. In the second one, I’d be screaming “stay away from my Di2 rear-mech you brute”. I never made it as a road racer! I prefer non-drafting triathlons on flat straight roads! Kirkland is a complete nut, but he isn’t a complete Snickers.
Bravery isn’t just about racing. It’s about having an open mind, not always following the crowd and being brave enough to take measured risks. Sometimes, the bravest fail, but they dust themselves down with the wrapper and try again!
The chocolate- I once worked with a rider whose 5 minute peak power was 575 watts (massive). He was physically exceptional but he chased the wrong moves, attacked just before big climbs (he was 85kg) or chose to mix it with the sprinters when his fast twitch fibre count was 1%. His tactical awareness was similar to a Vietnam GI on angel-dust. He took up time-trialling!
If you’re not the strongest, having a good tactical brain can help compensate. When the red mist descends for others, it is essential to keep a clear head and think about what you are doing and why. The more you race, the quicker you start to make the right decisions instinctively. Why are GB riders now able to win at such a young age, if experience is so important? It’s simple. They practice tactics in training, they critically watch others racing and they are taught to reflect on what went well or less well in races They are encouraged to take remedial action to strengthen their tactical armoury.
At the BMX Track
Nougat- or nugget if you’re not posh! Being fast is part of being a bike racer. It’s not simply about the speed of travel. It’s about having fast legs. I recently had a parent on the phone saying that their “little Johnny” was getting dropped in local criteriums because he was on junior restricted gears and what should they do? Without a hint of irony, I replied “pedal faster!!!!” It’s simple….if you can’t increase the force, increase the velocity.
Being fast is also about being able to change pace rapidly, shifting cadence from 80 to 135rpm in the blink of an eye. Such skill requires neuromuscular adaptations and for these adaptations to occur specific training is required. Riders are most responsive to neuromuscular adaptation at a young age……think small gears, think track, rollers, BMX, cycle-speedway! Did I mention getting the miles in? Nope! That’s not to say that developing endurance isn’t important, it’s just less of a priority until speed is developed.
Nuts- peanuts, they’re jungle fresh! They’re also skill! In the Tour de France, maintaining the average power at the start of a stage is within capabilities of an Olympic target shooter…well maybe a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea. It’s pretty low! However, the average 1st cat rider would be scrambling at the back of the field, accelerating at peak power out of every corner and they’ll be out the back as soon as a wee dig went in. Why? Because they lack skill. Cornering, descending, being able to bunny hop at speed, eating a gel, putting a jacket on, not falling when coming into contact with other riders, sitting on a the team car bumper at 60km.h are only a few of the skills required to be a successful road racer. When was the last time you practised any of them? “When was the last time you practised then smarty-arse?” I hear you say. Never! But I struggle negotiating a turn in a time-trial and get shouted at by age-group triathletes when going round a corner.
It Takes Allsorts!
Until Next Time
The Snicker Bar is now complete. We all understand what it is, but how can we make ourselves or our athlete’s into one? Hard work to develop these skills is required before it’s time for the batter and ice-cream.
In a recent presentation to a group of club athletes,only one or two riders cautiously put a hand up when I asked them who trained to develop their own Snickers Bar. That was less than 10% of the group! Which group do you fit into?
Next week, I’ll go into planning training for next year, so hopefully I’ll see you then. If you like my article, tweet it, post it on your Facebook or pass on the link to others that you think may be interested.
I Need a Training Plan
Most cyclists don’t consciously “select” a training system… it just happens…
They jump on their bike every day then based on how they feel they “decide” just what training they should do. This could be a 60min time trial, or a group ride with their mates… usually letting the senior riders dictate the days workout… sound
For the record… this is NOT the way to achieve your true potential as a bike racer.
In truth, there are three different training systems, namely “racing into shape”, the “always fit” method and “periodization”…
The “Race into shape” method:
This is the most common training system used by cyclists as it’s easy to do…
Step 1 involves building a large aerobic base by pedaling around 1500km – 2000km at an easy pace. While this amount of “easy” riding works, in truth for some it’s simply too much while for others it’s just not enough…
Step 2 involves racing every weekend and getting in a mid-week race (if available) or a hard group ride. The result will be a higher level of fitness…
There are some good reasons to use this method of training, the most important being that the fitness gained is specific to the demands of racing.
Training this way however is unpredictable as there is no planned rest and as a result overtraining can occur.
The “Always fit” method:
In warm climates, cyclists often try to stay in race-shape through the year. The cooler weather and frequent races through-out winter entice them to keep a constant level of fitness by doing the same training riding week in and week out.
The greatest issue facing this type of athlete is boredom and burnout. Burnout is not a pretty sight. All interest in training, racing and life in general goes for a “ball”…
Another problem has to do with physiology as after about 12 weeks of training the same way, improvements seem to plateau… since fitness is never static, if you are not improving you must be getting worse!!!
The “Periodization” method:
This is the system used by most successful athletes today.
The basic principal of all periodization programs is that training should progress from general to specific.
Yes, periodization means more than simply training more specifically. It also involves arranging your workouts in such a way that the elements of fitness achieved earlier in your training are maintained while new ones are addressed and improved. This modular approach to training means making small adjustments in your workouts every 4-8 weeks.
Flexibility of training or the lack of it may be the biggest obstacle facing a cyclist using periodization as successful periodization requires flexibility.
The language of periodization seems to confuse many; however the following are the terms that I like to use as these are the terms made popular by the likes of Joe Friel, Hunter Allen and Dr Andy Coggan amongst others…
The terms are as follows: Preparation Phase, Base Phase, Build Phase, Peak Phase, Race Phase and finally the Transition
Trying to improve all aspects of training at once is simply not possible hence the need to break your training down into manageable“phases” as indicated above.
The elements common to most periodization plans are increased volume at the start of the training season followed by
increased intensity as the volume decreases.
This phase generally marks the start of your training year and is included only if there has been a long transition following
the end of your previous Race Phase.
The purpose here is to prepare your body for the next phase of your training plan. Workouts are low intensity with an emphasis on aerobic endurance, especially in the form of cross-training.
The total volume of training is low when compared with most other training phases. Speed skills can be developed through drills, usually done on an indoor training or a set of rollers.
The Base phase is your time to establish your basic fitness abilities of endurance, force, and speed skills. Generally, this
is also the longest phase of your season and should last around eight to twelve weeks.
The base phase is divided into three segments: Base 1, Base 2 and Base 3.
Base 1 marks the start of steady increases in volume to boost your aerobic endurance and increase your body’s resilience to handle larger training loads.
In Base 2, on-bike endurance work begins to replace crosstraining as the training volume increases. As your road rides
become longer, the companionship of a group helps to pass the time. Just make sure that you ride with a group that rides at YOUR required pace and does not turn every ride into a “race”.
The majority of your road rides should be on continuously rolling to hilly routes that place controlled stress on your neuromuscular system. The best routes at this time of the season keep your efforts below threshold and allow cadences of around 80rpm and higher while seated on a hill.
Muscular-endurance training is also introduced in Base 2, with the addition of Tempo workouts based on hear rate or power output.
Base 3 marks a phasing-in of higher intensity training with the introduction of some proper hill work done at or slightly
above threshold. Base 3 also brings about your highest total weekly volume of training with aerobic rides accounting for more than half of your training time. By the way, your longest training rides should now be as long as your longest
race of the season, or two hours… whichever is the longer…
Group rides are still the best way to get the miles in but while it’s ok to occasionally put the hammer down in a sprint, just
make sure you don’t turn these rides into “races”!!!
Your purpose now is to get as fast as you can with low-effort rides before turning up the heat in you Build phase.
By now, several weekly workouts should now have you riding at threshold, while your Speed-skills work is done mostly as
“Form Sprints” on the road.
Anaerobic-endurance is now introduced in your Build phase and just with force, hill work, and muscular-endurance training,
this should be done with caution to avoid injury.
Feel free to race during this phase of your training, but remember that these are low priority races and you should regard
them as a substitute for some of your anaerobic-endurance workouts. Anaerobic-endurance workouts may also include intervals and fast group rides.
During Build 1, endurance work is reduced but is still a prominent focus of your training. You would be better off by doing
your long easy endurance rides at this stage with one or two team mates or training partners rather than a large group. Use the group rides for the development of muscular-endurance and anaerobic-endurance.
In Build 2 you again slightly decrease the volume of your training while increasing the intensity. Training in Build 2
emphasizes intensity to a greater extent than in the previous four weeks. Anaerobic-endurance and muscular-endurance sessions become longer while recovery is decreased between your efforts.
Now is the time you consolidate your racing fitness. It’s time to reduce your volume and keep intensity levels high relative
to your expected demands of your targeted races while emphasizing recovery between workouts. Ideally you would
want to train at race-pace intensity every 72-96hrs.
These workouts may also include “B” or “C” priority races that serve as a tune-up for the “A” races that follow.
The purpose of periodization is to reach peak form just as the important races occur.
Whoop, Whoop… this is the FUN TIME!!!! Now all that is needed is to race, work on your strengths and recover…
In weeks where there are no races, a race-effort group ride is the best option.
Until now you have been working on your “limiting factors”, now it’s time to improve your strengths, so make them as
strong as possible!!!
Your transition phase is a time for rest and recovery following your race phase. This should always be included after your
last race for the season, but may also be inserted early on in your season following your first Peak phase to help prevent burnout later in the year.
Early season Transition phases may be brief periods of perhaps five to seven days, while at the end of your season such a
break may be four weeks or so.
Use this time to “recharge your batteries” for your training and racing to come….
Remember, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it!”
Until next time…. Ride safe!
AUSTIN, Texas - August 23rd, 2012 - There comes a point in every man's life when he has to say, "Enough is enough." For me, that time is now. I have been dealing with claims that I cheated and had an unfair advantage in winning my seven Tours since 1999. Over the past three years, I have been subjected to a two-year federal criminal investigation followed by Travis Tygart's unconstitutional witch hunt. The toll this has taken on my family, and my work for our foundation and on me leads me to where I am today – finished with this nonsense.
I had hoped that a federal court would stop USADA’s charade. Although the court was sympathetic to my concerns and recognized the many improprieties and deficiencies in USADA’s motives, its conduct, and its process, the court
ultimately decided that it could not intervene.
If I thought for one moment that by participating in USADA’s process, I could confront these allegations in a fair setting and – once and for all – put these charges to rest, I would jump at the chance. But I refuse to participate in a process that is so one-sided and unfair. Regardless of what Travis Tygart says, there is zero physical evidence to support his outlandish and heinous claims. The only physical evidence here is the hundreds of controls I have passed with flying colors. I made myself available around the clock and around the world. In-competition. Out of competition. Blood. Urine. Whatever they asked for I
provided. What is the point of all this testing if, in the end, USADA will not stand by it?
From the beginning, however, this investigation has not been about learning the truth or cleaning up cycling, but about punishing me at all costs. I am a retired cyclist, yet USADA has lodged charges over 17 years old despite its own 8-year limitation. As respected organizations such as UCI and USA Cycling have made clear, USADA lacks jurisdiction even to bring these charges. The international bodies governing cycling have ordered USADA to stop, have given notice that no one should participate in USADA’s improper proceedings, and have made it clear the pronouncements by USADA that it has banned people for life or stripped them of their accomplishments are made without authority. And as many others, including USADA’s own arbitrators, have found, there is nothing even remotely fair about its process. USADA has broken the law, turned its back on its own rules, and stiff-armed those who have tried to persuade USADA to honor its obligations. At every turn, USADA has played the role of a bully, threatening everyone in its way and challenging the good faith of anyone who
questions its motives or its methods, all at U.S. taxpayers’ expense. For the last two months, USADA has endlessly repeated the mantra that there should be a single set of rules, applicable to all, but they have arrogantly refused to
practice what they preach. On top of all that, USADA has allegedly made deals with other riders that circumvent their own rules as long as they said I cheated. Many of those riders continue to race today.
The bottom line is I played by the rules that were put in place by the UCI, WADA and USADA when I raced. The idea that athletes can be convicted today without positive A and B samples, under the same rules and procedures that apply
to athletes with positive tests, perverts the system and creates a process where any begrudged ex-teammate can open a USADA case out of spite or for personal gain or a cheating cyclist can cut a sweetheart deal for themselves. It’s an
unfair approach, applied selectively, in opposition to all the rules. It’s just not right.
USADA cannot assert control of a professional international sport and attempt to strip my seven Tour de France titles. I know who won those seven Tours, my teammates know who won those seven Tours, and everyone I competed against knows who won those seven Tours. We all raced together. For three weeks over the same roads, the same mountains, and against all the weather and elements that we had to confront. There were no shortcuts, there was no special treatment. The same courses, the same rules. The toughest event in the world where the strongest man wins. Nobody can ever change that. Especially not Travis Tygart.
Today I turn the page. I will no longer address this issue, regardless of the circumstances. I will commit myself to the work I began before ever winning a single Tour de France title: serving people and families affected by cancer, especially those in underserved communities. This October, my Foundation will celebrate 15 years of service to cancer survivors and the milestone of raising nearly $500 million. We have a lot of work to do and I'm looking forward to an end to this pointless distraction. I have a responsibility to all those who have stepped forward to devote their time and energy to the cancer cause. I will not stop fighting for that mission. Going forward, I am going to devote myself to raising my five beautiful (and energetic) kids, fighting cancer, and attempting to be the fittest 40-year old on the planet.
Original statement here
The roads in and around the city of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa will be
the reserve of the world’s best amateur cyclists over the four days of the 2012
Some 500 athletes from 31 countries and all five continents will be racing in
the age-group time trials and road races from August 23rd to 26th.
In its second year, the UWCT (UCI World Cycling Tour) comprised 15 qualifying rounds which were held throughout the world, with the top 25% of each age-group of the qualifiers winning the right to line up for the final in Pietermaritzburg.
UCI Cycling for All Coordinator Andréa Marcellini says she is delighted with the momentum that the UWCT has gained in just two years of existence: “We launched the initiative in 2011 and were very pleased to have seven qualifying rounds, but this year the UWCT has exceeded expectations with 15 qualifying races.”
She added that all the events on the UWCT calendar had met strict organisational, sporting and touristic criteria.
Some of the 2011 World Champions who won their rainbow jerseys in Stavelot, Belgium, last September, will be in Pietermaritzburg to defend their titles.
The fact that this year’s Final is being held in South Africa has also encouraged participation from African countries that were not present in Belgium, such as Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.
Pietermaritzburg has an extremely successful history in organising major international cycling events, which have included the 2010 UCI BMX World Championships, and several rounds of the UCI BMX World Cup and the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Next year it will be the venue of the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships and the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships.
The 2012 UWCT Final is being staged under the auspices of Cycling South Africa. Event Director Alec Lenferna, of Real Events Management said: “Preparations for the event are very advanced and we are looking forward to welcoming athletes from all over the world. The city of Pietermaritzburg and its region has already shown on numerous occasions that we are able and willing to host major cycling events of this nature and to have the 2012 UWCT Final here is
another feather in our cap. We are thankful for the continued faith the UCI shows in us as an organising entity.”
He added that various city and provincial departments as well as a large number of volunteers had facilitated the organisation of the event.
Original article can be found here
Cycling South Africa’s Road Cycling Commission has great pleasure in announcing that the following riders have been selected to represent South Africa at the 2012 UCI Road World Championships in Limburg, The Netherlands, taking place from 15 to 23 September.
The following riders have been selected according to
the 2012 Road Cycling Selection Criteria.
Daryl Impey – road race
Jay Thomson – road race and time trial
Reinardt Janse van Rensburg – road race and time trial
Louis Meintjies – road race and time trial
Rohan du Plooy – road race and time trial
Ryan Gibbons – road race
Ryan Felgate – road race
Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio – road race
Cherise Stander – road race and time trial
Robyn de Groot – road race
Joanna van de Winkel – road race
Lise Olivier – road race
An-Li Pretorius – road race
Heidi Dalton – road race and time trial
View original article here