Training is Harder than Racing???

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I finally have a definitive answer to why Bradley Wiggins goes to Tenerife and hangs as often as possible. It is from one of his team directors, Sean Yates, ex (forever) team mate of Lance. Sean says – “The training is harder than the racing,” Yates said. “When push comes to shove in a race, on the top of [Col de] Joux Plane, it’s going to be hard, but 99 percent of time the training is harder than the racing.”

So there we have it, the races in Europe aren’t hard enough for Bradley because he can’t push himself hard enough in them, so he needs to go to a remote Spanish island and train with a few of his team mates (Chris Froome, Richie Porte, Michael Rogers, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Christian Knees). I guess racing isn’t hard enough for any of these guys. They probably need to be one on one with Bradley to be able to really dig deep and get to another level.

It seems so weird because nearly every race I’ve ever done is harder than nearly anything I do training. (And I have been known to train somewhat hard.) I must be doing something backwards here? I guess I must train harder, much, much harder, so the races seem way easier than training. That way I could be paid to race less, not perform in front of my fans, but get to hang with my team mates. According to Sean – “the fact that the hotel is superb, the food is superb, the terrain is the best, the amount of climbing you can do is phenomenal” is the reason behind his success. (I didn’t think Bradley ate much?) But, it does seem like a no brainer. Just hang at the nice hotel and climb as many meters as possible, beating up your team mates. I maybe could have been great with this training method. Shoot. Maybe it’s not too late? I wonder how much a ticket to Tenerife is?

If you want to try to emulate some of their training secrets, the whole article is here at Velonews.

And after Andy’s disappointing day at the Dauphine, here’s maybe what is going on behind the scenes at the RadioShack/Nissan bunker. But, putting aside their little spat, RadioShack-Nissan team manager Johan Bruyneel, gives Andy a get-out-of-jail free card because “he’s had a lack of competition.” It seems, Yates, the student, has made some secret discoveries that his master, Johan, doesn’t know?

A close up of Bradley’s forearm after he lost all that upper body weight the last couple years.

I can see a couple more pounds of muscle here, that he could shed to climb really, really good.

And finally, the quote of the day from Mark Cavendish after finishing the Giro – “Contrary to popular belief, I am one of the only riders who do not take pulls or get pushed,” he said. “The commissaires do everything they can to make things harder for us. They make barrages when it’s not necessary. I am spent, but I have enjoyed it. I love this race, I love this country.”

Those silly officials, frowning upon towing. I was wondering how all those guys got up those steep mountains in Italy? Now Mark has explained it.

21 thoughts on “Training is Harder than Racing???

  1. JP Shores

    I watched Super Mario cipollini get pushed by fans the entire way up Brass Town Bald during the Tour De Georgia. He looked like he was in a parade route, waving, smiling, and joking with everyone. I don’t think he pedaled the entire way up that climb. It is 15% or greater during most of the climb. Must have been a tough day at the office!
    There are not enough Jen’s Voigt riders or Steve Tilfords left in the Peleton!

  2. Knower

    Great piece. Johan is working the psychological war with the schlecks. Appears they will not get on the program and Johan is calling them out. Hope they stand their ground and finish 30th and 31 st at the tour. I think I’ll watch super week this year. Racing will be cleaner.

  3. channel_zero


    I’m sorry you don’t believe in miracles and the strengthening powers of Tenerife’s hills.

    VN is still trying to sell ridiculous training secrets without mentioning the doping doctor(s?) living there and a location so remote WADA testers won’t ever appear.

    I’ve seen this script before. Next they’ll have Ed Coyle analyze Wiggo’s cadence and discover something special about it.

    At this point VN only contributes to the disgrace, doping doctors, doping DS’s that thrive in the sport. Please consider not ever linking to them again as you are rewarding their ridiculous media strategy by doing so.

  4. Bri

    Tenerife..maybe has something in the water?? But in Wiggo’s defense he isn’t the only one. I am always shocked at how many of the American riders will disappear before the big races. Go back to train in California prepping for the TDF…again must be some good water coming from the source of their training camps.

  5. Trevor

    Yes, Tenerife has absolutely nothing beneficial to pro cyclists, what with all the climbs and altitude and all that.

  6. channel_zero


    They can’t find all that altitude, food, lack of distractions and climbing in numerous places in Europe so they have to go to far-off islands to get it?

    The sport loves you guys because you buy their BS. Such intense denial serves you no good.

  7. dt

    I’ve been to Tenerife, didn’t have my bike but was happy I didn’t because the riding would’ve been terrible, too many cars and on top of the mountain there is only one road going around the big crater. I have friends that’ve been there and they said the riding was too hard to get in good training and too dangerous with all the traffic.

  8. AP

    I think the point Sean is trying to make about training is harder than racing is that in a race you only need to race to the tempo of the group around you, which will then turn into a sprint for the top of the climb. This is done over how ever many passes are on the course that particular day. In training you can hammer all the way up the climb at a hard tempo, descend and repeat. It is that mindset of having to hammer up alone when no one is chasing that I think is what makes training harder. A race is more about reacting to the bunch, where training is all about the mindset of going hard.

    As for all those who say that pros go to islands to dope and what not, thats the easy way out. There is a system im place, granted it needs work, which is designed to catch cheaters. Until there is evidence otherwise I think we have to assume that all the riders are clean. This attitude that anyone who wins is a cheat is no different than doping in itself, it is the easy way out and without any proof it doesnt have a leg to stand on.

  9. channel_zero


    The UCI loves you guys too. You clearly aren’t aware the current system is designed to not kill anyone. Doping, to some degree, is still okay.

    When you ask for proof, what constitutes proof?
    -A contador positive with the UCI’s failed attempt at a cover-up?
    -An Armstrong “never tested positive” but everyone else on the same podiums has?
    -A Yates on the Armstrong managed doping team experience comes in handy?
    -A Spanish doctor caught in Operation Puerto living nearby and still advising sports teams?
    -Podium today, pack fill the rest of the year?

    Should I leave you and your mates alone and let you believe in miracles too?

  10. Paul

    These guys (Wiggins and Yates)are time trialists first, then bike racers. You are a bike racer that has occasionally had to do time trials because they we’re for some reason part of a stage race. The type of person that likes to do time trials is probably capable of training harder than they can race. They are wired different and you know who they are because they probably like to be left alone to focus ,with a few exceptions where they are by far the biggest clown in the group. They also suffer from ASD, attention surplus disorder, which is why they think it fine to ride in places you and I would think suck. You on the other hand like to look at things, are open to distractions, talk about them and think about stuff whenever possible. A good time trialist can stay focused until they cross a finish line all alone.
    About the altitude thing. There may be something to the canary islands as the high elevation is so close to sea level locations. It is rare to have the benefits of both so convenient. These guys are obsessed freaks and will probably drive down to sea level for one type of workout and back up to elevation for another. Who knows? But, the proximity to shady doctors and great distance from the authorities is also a very reasonable thing to question.

  11. Formerly Jim

    This thing Yates said is BS. There are very few guys who can hurt themselves deeply when training by meter alone vs. racing but maybe Paul has a little bit of a point, however insulting it may be, about the guys who can do this.

    One thing is clear: it doesn’t work for a guy like Andy, who seems to get by on talent alone.

  12. Mike Rodose

    Paul has good points about the TT guys being wired differently. They need to train up hills, rather than race. Beacuse they aren’t racers. Agreed.

    They are on an awesome drug program that requires “In-Season Training Camps”. Just like the TdF race teams of EPO yore, riding their rollers in the middle of the night. Training…..

  13. Curby

    I remember the days when the Tour of Italy was contested by the best cyclists in the world, now the top only seem to race 3 weeks a year. I’m not sure if that is good for the sport or not. I’m going to guess not. Now the Tour of Italy result are glanced over more than read over. If sponsors want exposure I find it hard to believe having your top racers only race about 3 weeks a year does the job.

  14. Mark Studnicki

    Tenerife has been a suspicious destination for a while now, with several doping stories related to it. As far as altitude goes, I wouldn’t consider 2160 all that high considering these guys fly right over higher/better roads in Spain and France to get there. It seems to be more about “getting away”. Gert-Jan Theunisse put that place on the map a long time ago when he needed to “get away” and train during his year off. Has WADA ever performed out-of-competition tests there?

  15. H Luce

    Yes, miracles do happen on Tenerife, at a tiny shrine on the roadside at the top of the mountain, Nuestra Madre de la Sagrada Sangre Rica… the racers pray there and receive a miraculous boost in their racing ability. Too bad you aren’t a Catholic, Steve, you could experience the miracle as well…

  16. Joseph

    Training is harder than racing. Hmm. I was hoping to read something about that line either here or inrng. So thank you!

  17. jpete

    Good Grief! sounds like wiggo’s training party were the elite group on the Joux Plane today. Coincidence?! When will people wise up?

  18. Too White


    You have to let this Wiggins thing go. This rant is getting really tired and making you look like an even more crusty curmudgeon.


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