How Do Tour de France Cyclists Climb So Fast?

Published by Darron Toy on

– Have you ever sat at home
watching the Tour de France, and gone how on Earth do
those riders climb so fast? – I have, certainly. Luckily we also have a little
experience to share with you. – Ooh, yes we do. (relaxed electronic music) – If you want to climb like a
Tour de France mountain goat, you have to live every second of every day with one bit of focus in your mind. Going uphill, fast. – Yeah, you have to be accountable for every bit of food you take in. You can't sit down in February and tuck in to a massive bar of chocolate
like we all like to do and then want to go uphill fast come July. I guess, to an extent, a sprinter, someone who's less focused
on going uphill fast, could get away with this behavior. But if you want to go fast come July at the Tour de France, then
you have to be accountable for every morsel that crosses your lips. – And the same goes for every action that you take as well. Every action has a cumulative effect on the human body. Imagine, for example, that you live on the third floor of
a block of apartments and you go up and down
at least twice every day. That's 28800 steps before
you've even made it to the Tour de France. Would you therefore be
better taking the elevator after those tough seven
hour training rides? It's a real world consideration for a Tour de France pro. And speaking of food,
I once had a teammate that, in the lead up to big hill-y races, for two weeks would
only eat oats and water. So unhealthy to have
such a restricted diet, but he did go uphill pretty quick. – Oats and water? – Yeah, grim.
– Sounds horrendous. As Chris and I are
climbing the Col Madeleine, we're going into altitude. So it's probably a good time to tell you a bit about altitude training. Altitude training has
gained mass popularity over recent years. To the extent that most World Tour pros have experimented with some sort of altitude camp or altitude training at some point over their career. – Now the premise is to
sleep high and to train low. Essentially what happens
when sleeping at altitude, is whilst we're breathing
the oxygen reduced air, our body is forced to adapt by producing more red blood cells which then transport the
oxygen to our muscles which is the mainstay
of aerobic performance. And yes, you could get
the same adaptations from the comfort of your own home by using a hyperbaric
chamber, an altitude tent, there is much more emphasis placed on actually traveling to
these remote locations. And this is because there
are generally speaking, fewer distractions for the athlete meaning they can focus
on the task at hand. – It is hard at altitude, isn't it? – It is at this speed. – [James] Training at
altitude isn't for everyone and can certainly take a while to adapt to but riders have been quoted saying that it boosts their sustainable
power up to 10%. Which could normally take
two years or more to achieve. These are high responders, though, and unlike regular fitness gains these do not last forever. As little as 10 to 20
days, meaning another trip to altitude is needed. – No matter how fit you
are as an amateur cyclist, it's simply unrealistic to expect to climb as fast as a Tour de France
pro for one simple reason. They will have a leadout. – Yeah, aerodynamics are at play at even speeds of around
20 kilometers per hour. So this can also help
when you're climbing. Not only does it help with your pacing, but it also helps with
increasing the speed going up the climb. As each rider pulls off,
the speed gets faster and your rider at the back will be able to stay in the
wheels as long as possible. Alright, cheers mate! – Now, you might be wondering, surely everyone sat on a
wheel is getting benefit. But this just isn't true. For one reason, mountains are
often twisty and technical. Meaning that the first rider
goes through the corner, accelerates ever so slightly, and that effect is amplified
back through the group. Meaning that by the time rider
number 10 leaves the corner, they're either going to be sprinting to catch the wheel or the elastic'll snap and they'll let the wheel go. – You've trained your entire life, eating correctly and taking care of all your tactics
and positioned yourself just perfectly going into the race. But, there's still something
that holds you back. – And that's your genetics! Some riders are just genetic freaks. Capable of processing more oxygen whilst producing more power
and all whilst doing so more efficiently that the rest of us. – And these guys are the complete package. They have the mental fortitude and physical capability
of backing it up too. It's just unfair. – Might as well go home now, I reckon. – Yeah. – No matter what any media
outlet or your mates down the pub will have you believe, cycling these days is actually a much cleaner sport than it was 20 years ago. Back then, the speeds that they could ride on the bikes that they had to
ride was frankly phenomenal. – The reason for this was
simply down to doping. I guess if you wanted to climb like a Tour de France
pro back 20 years ago, then you'd have to get
charged off your chops on a cocktail of stimulants
and blood boosters. And this is something we
obviously don't recommend. And studies have shown that you can't change a
donkey into a racehorse. And so, I guess I
wouldn't waste your time. – There you have it, a little insight on just how to climb like
a Tour de France pro. – If you liked this video
then give it a big thumbs up. For more how-tos, click
on my lovely Orbea. Is there a reason you're
stood up the hill? – Make me look taller. (James sighing)


Global Cycling Network · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

What's the best climb you've ever ridden?

bugboy152000 · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

#GCN Opie on a Pinnarello?

mike wazowski · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm


lpoolck · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

3:07 "look Mam, no hands"

Jason Lange · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

How do they climb that fast you ask? Drugs!

piefunk98 · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Practice, practice and more practice

Comments Enabled · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Stair climbing works out muscles that are used climbing on the bike… why wouldn't we take the stairs? Hashtag reduce unnecessary electricity use.

Alfonso Lizarazo · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Does the two weeks training of Alaphillipe in Colombia after the Tour Colombia in Feb influenced his results in theTDF?

Hog roamer · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Since doping was much wider spread 20 years ago and "you can't change a mule into a race horse", what is your opinion of Lance Armstrong and where he would rank amongst the best riders ever?

Steve Gram · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Drugs and blood doping, don't believe the fairy tale….

carlos felipe niño bernal · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

I wonder if I'm actually a great climber given that the only climbs I have faced are around my city (Bogotá, Colombia) which is 2600 meters above sea level. If I go to a climb anywhere else do I have an advantage over the people who regularly climb there?

LisztyLiszt · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

The sport is cleaner? I hope so because I really enjoy it. But considering that the Tour de France is the hardest race of the hardest sport in the world, there's a surprising number of asthmatics who do quite well in it – that even win it. Doesn't seem possible.

Jay Trock · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Do you really want to answer how they climb so fast? Doubt it, since we know how they do it. Same as Lance.

carl easton · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Where are Matt and Dan!

Champ Tech · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Unfortunately you CAN turn donkey into a racing horse, the history showed it again and again.

HEAVYWALL 70 · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

I once spent a month above 7500 feet in New Mexico
When I returned to North Carolina at 250 ft I rode like I had a motor for about a month

Dejan Ivanov · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

In my case… 1. They tiny dont have 130kg, 2. They arent 190cm tall, 3. Im pretty sure they dont have problem with discushernia… so at the end im not so bad 😂😂😂

TheBlueGalaxy · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

"studies showed that you can make a donkey into a race horse" ahahahah

Oliver Garner · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Just did the famous Tourmalet-climb. Had an average speed of 13.6 kph and I'am kind of proud of it. I'am just 16 years old so there is still time to get better, right? I did a lot a (famous) climb, but I think this is my best one, is this good for a 16 year old, anyone any information?

Sam Hauck · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

The biggest gains most people can make to improve climbing is weight loss. If you lose 10 lbs without changing your power, that’s 5-8 percent improvements in your climbing speed depending on how much you weigh

Mourão Leonel · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

I love your channel, but one question, why when it comes to doping is it Always lance? Contador no?

Biscuit Bass Broom · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

hi guys n gals …… great videos by the way……..i have a question for you ……..i train on my own a lot since february 2019 i had not rode a bike for quite a few years ……..i do a lot of hill climbing when i can due to my job i live in canada now and love yr show…im an ex-pat by the way…how ever i went on a ride for health with a group and found to my suprise that i got slaughtered how can i improve and keep my cadence up for long periods of time …my bike is an old one and waighs about 35 pounds and i am around 205 sometimes 199.3 lbs i dont seem to be loosing any more poundage lol…………………………………………………………………….… i look forward to yr reply thanks again .

henry evans · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Opie's been hitting that squat rack

JOHN Dunn · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

What about body weight? Average pro climber is 64kg (141lbs). Average Sprinter is 72kg (159lbs). Pinot is 63kg. Alaphilippe is 62kg. Contador 62kg.

Stealthboy23 · July 26, 2019 at 3:32 pm

Idk if I would sit on the top tube of a pinarello….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *