Bike racing fans see a lot of riders battling against each other in the big races, but we see little of the preparation. The online tool Strava offers a unique window on some of the training secrets of the major pro riders.

Many amateur riders have (had) the dream of riding a major race in a professional peloton. But whether it was a lack of physical attributes, top sporting mentality or simply a lack of time, few people actually join the ranks of the major pros. Even if you have great potential, the lack of a good training programme can really throw a spanner in the works of youthful ambition. Online tools like Strava can give us mere mortals an interesting insight into the cycling lives of the professionals.

Laurens ten Dam

Laurens ten Dam has been in the pro peloton for years. Team Sunweb’s road captain was a key domestique for Tom Dumoulin during his Giro d’Italia victory in 2017. Ten Dam is particularly good when he hits the mountains. This is striking, considering the fact that he lives and trains in North Holland province in the Netherlands, one of the flattest regions of a really flat country. Ten Dam is a true early adaptor when it comes to Strava: fans have been able to follow his training logbook which he began in 2007. Since then, he has clocked up almost 170,000 kilometres in the saddle! This really gives a unique insight into the work ethic of one of the key riders at Team Sunweb. See Laurens ten Dam on Strava.

Michal Kwiatkowski

It’s not just sober Dutchmen who show the rest of us what it takes to be able to keep up with the best. Michal Kwiatkowski, the all-rounder who currently rides for the oh-so-secretive Team Sky, shows us all what it takes to win one-day classics as well as being a very important member of a Grand Tour squad. We don’t get to see his complete trainings programme unfortunately, as the heart rate and power stats are missing. This isn’t a Team Sky thing, though — quite a few pros keep this information for their own and their coaches’ eyes only. Click here for Kwiatkowski’s Strava profile.

Lucinda Brand

The Dutch road racing champion in 2013 and 2015 combines her road work with cyclocross during the winter months. This forms a good springboard to the Spring Classics, and in 2018 she was second to Chantal Blaak in the Amstel Gold Race. It’s interesting to see that Brands’ average power during the whole race was 192 Watts. Brand, from Rotterdam, rides considerably fewer kilometres than her male colleagues, but she does ride right through the winter on her cyclocross bike. Check Brand’s activities here.

Niki Terpstra

Lots of bike racing fans revel in the impressive Strava numbers generated by the pros. Niki Terpstra is certainly one to keep an eye on after his impressive victory in the E3 Harelbeke and the Tour of Flanders in 2018. Although insider-information such as heart rate and power are missing, you can still get some interesting insights from the winning rider. We discover, for example, that during his final 25-kilometre solo of the E3 he had to ride at an average speed of 45 kph to stay ahead of the competition. That’s after four and a half hours of racing… See Niki’s Strava profile.

Another day of training done ✅

Een bericht gedeeld door Niki Terpstra Racing (@nikiterpstra) op

Robert Gesink

Robert Gesink’s career has been full of ups and downs. As serious as his setbacks have often seemed, Gesink always fights back. His Strava account gives a good deal of insight into his recovery following his most recent injury: a broken vertebrae sustained during the ninth stage of the Tour de France in 2017. A corset, which clamped his upper body in place for three months, didn’t prevent him from getting back on his bike four weeks after his injury. Meanwhile, Gesink has already ridden more rides than there are days in 2018, spread over 12 (!) different bikes. Click here to see for yourself!

There’s a lot of information about the lives and training work put in by the professionals. To what extent that should form guidance for your own training is up to you. We already knew professional bike racing was hard work, but these numbers underline once again that achieving the level needed to even just finish a tour like the Giro is simply not realistic for most of us.