El Etixx - Quick-Step trabajó con el sistema Body Geometry de Specialized para optimizar nuestro rendimiento en nuestras bicicletas de contrarreloj Shiv. La prueba se realizó en el Centro de Ciclismo Flamenco Eddy Mercx. Nuestro último vídeo te explica el proceso de análisis de información y datos, ¡que se recogió mientras que rodábamos en el velódromo! #OurWay más


¡Specialized Racing proporcionó a Etixx - Quick-Step el análisis previo a la carrera de Milán-San Remo! Los detalles están a continuación. más


Milano – Sanremo is one of the most unpredictable races in the entire cycling calendar. There are three important elements that in the last editions have characterized this race, elements that we have taken some time to analyze.

The first one is represented in the initial five hours of the race that include the climb of Turchino and Cipressa, but also the entrance on the coastal road of Liguria.

The second one is represented by the climb and consequent descent of the Poggio. And the third one that brings the riders to the final Kilometer of the race.

The first five hours

The first hours of the race is a battle to stay as hidden as possible to save as much energy as possible. If being positioned in the middle of the peloton is the way to go, adding the right choice of equipment helps a rider to save even more.

Things to analyze are the different roles of the riders, including the one of the domestiques that will have to control the race in the front, according to the respective teams’ strategies. Being very exposed, aerodynamics is very important as it gives longevity to the effort.

Even though the first part of the course sees the climb of Turchino and Cipressa, aerodynamics is still a factor given the high speed at which these two climbs are negotiated.

  • Going from a Prevail Helmet to an Evade Helmet saves 85kJ or roughly the equivalent of one Energy Gel
  • The draft a potential winner gets from just one rider over this segment equals 600kJ (7 Energy Gels), if he spends the entire time deep in the pack he even saves 1500kJ (18 Energy gels)
  • The Energy saving effect of the Evade Helmet still holds true, when deep in the pack.

The Poggio Element

The climb  


  • Even though gravity is the biggest resistance going up the Poggio, it is still a balancing game of aerodynamics and weight. An aero set up consisting on the Venge still saves 6 Watts over a Tarmac during this climb.
  • We estimate that the climb will be ridden in less than 7’ that makes of it a very fast ascent. While riders less prone to sprint will be maximizing their effort along the Poggio, sprinters will try to save the loss as much as they can. Staying as close as possible with the top of the field by limiting their gaps will help them to recover along the fast and winding descent.

The Descent

  • The Poggio descent is fast and winding and it will be headed at a high speed. Less than 5’ for regroup, in case a rider has been left behind during the ascent of the Poggio. The effort will be violent and can show relevant power consumption, even though it is a downhill.
  • Aero is still relevant, along with another component, the combination of tires and wheels. Specialized has develop a huge knowledge in tires performance and the Specialized Turbo is the result of it. Low rolling resistance and great grip is what’s needed in extreme situation like the Poggio descent. Even more with rainy conditions.
  • Teams along with Specialized Racing are working extensively on defining the best tire pressure and to make sure the riders arrive at the Poggio with the right conditions.
  • Going down the Poggio a rider has to rely on fast wheels, with a great brake performance and an incredible acceleration. Most of our top riders will be racing the Roval CLX 60 as it is a combination of all the features a rider is looking at.

The Sprint (Last Kilometer)

  • In the last km aero truly is everything. 83% of the overall resistance is aerodynamic resistance, showing that the air and not the weight is the athlete’s biggest enemy.
  • One Example: in case of a sprint finish, a sprinter starts his final surge with about 200m to go. He cranks the pedals hard, reaching maximum power three seconds into the surge and accelerates quickly. Let’s suppose that sprinter A on the Venge completes the 200m in 11.7 seconds. His identical opponent, sprinter B that produces the same power at the same time, uses a Tarmac. He reaches the finish in 11.8 seconds or roughly 1.5 meters behind sprinter A.


Milano-Sanremo is a long race where aerodynamics plays a big role, but there are other elements a rider must consider if he wants to aim for the ultimate success.

This Classic is difficult to be interpreted and it requires a lot of attention to the details when it comes to selecting the right equipment. 

From the domestique to the leader, the set ups need to be selected with care, as they can change a lot to the final result.

Specialized best set up for Sunday consists in:

  • Venge;
  • Roval CLX60
  • Specialized Turbo
  • Evade Helmet

La importancia de la ingesta de líquidos y sodio para el fluido de agua de los atletas es el componente más importante de nuestro cuerpo. Alrededor del 45% al 75% de nuestro cuerpo está constituido por agua (Jequier, 2010). La cantidad total de agua en el cuerpo depende del peso, la edad, el sexo y la composición corporal del individuo (Altman, 1961).

Well-trained athletes have a larger amount of water in their body than less well-trained athletes. The professional cyclists of the Etixx-Quick Step team are therefore able to cope with extreme weather conditions, such as those that were present at the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman. In relative terms, these cyclists have more muscles than would an amateur cyclist. Muscles consist of 70%-75% water, while fat tissue contains only 10-15% water (IOM, 2005).

Because water is an important component of the vascular volume (by volume, blood consists of approximately 55% to 65% water (plasma) and 35%-45% red blood cells) hydration also plays a crucial role in our cardiovascular function and the regulation of body temperature. Water fulfils a very important role in our body. It is a building material, means of transport, solvent, heat regulator, partner in chemical reactions and plays a protective role (De Winter, 2008; Maughan, 2000).

Fluid Balance

The fluid balance, i.e. input versus output, is affected by the intake of food, level of activity, age and certain environmental factors (e.g. altitude/heat). While the total water balance is strictly regulated over a 24-hour period (IOM, 2005), shortages or excesses can occur. Dehydration develops when an insufficient amount of fluid is ingested or when a lot of fluid is lost. Again, as an example of extreme climates, Qatar and Oman have a desert climate. But this can apply to any race with high temperatures and little rain. The absolute temperature in February at a place like Qatar and Oman is not too bad, around 23°C. But in relative terms, it is the first time during the season that the cyclists race in hot weather. The danger of drinking too little looms just around the corner. In addition, the wind plays an extra role in these races. Cycling in fan formation requires a lot of concentration, and sometimes makes it difficult to drink enough. Drinking when thirsty should be a habit for athletes.


It's important to get off to a great start to finish the race in a great position! The same applies to a healthy fluid strategy. Drinking during the race only is not enough to maintain an adequate fluid balance. Cyclists will already be loading up with fluids and electrolytes at breakfast and when making their way to the start. Athletes who start their effort with an inadequate water balance will perform more poorly than when they arrive at the starting line fully hydrated (Ronald, 2001). When expending effort, the water content in the muscles increases, while it will decrease in the blood plasma as a result of muscle contractions. The water content will decrease further as a result of dehydration due to sweating.

Factors Affecting Dehydration (Sawka, 2007):

Genetic factors: some athletes sweat more than others;Body size: taller athletes tend to sweat more than smaller athletes;Environment: more dehydration in hot and humid circumstances;Intensity of the effort: more dehydration during higher training intensity.

The amount of plasma fluid in the blood is very important for the body. A decrease in the plasma volume will result in a decrease of the blood volume, which automatically results in a reduced supply to the muscles. Reduction of the body's water content will have a great impact on the athlete's ability to perform (Jeukendrup, 2004). Dehydration causes the following negative effects: increased heart rate, reduced heat resistance, the expenditure of effort feels more difficult than normal, the ability to concentrate is reduced, the skill level is reduced and the stomach empties more slowly, which results in gastrointestinal problems. It has been definitively proven that dehydration has a negative impact on performance and that this impact increases as the loss of fluid increases (see also the table on sweating during sports performance) (Jeukendrup, 2004).


Supposing a cyclist who normally pedals 420 watts, the loss of performance will be 42 watts in the case of 2% dehydration and 126 watts in the case of 4% dehydration. In terms of speed, for a top performance of 45 km per hour, 2% dehydration reduces the speed to 40.5 km per hour. In the case of 4% dehydration, the speed slows to 31.5 km per hour. This must absolutely be avoided when you are striving for victory.

The Impact of the Loss of Sweat on a Sports Performance (Nelissen, 1999).

Most athletes can tolerate a 2% dehydration when the environmental temperature is cold (5-10°C) or moderate (21-22°C). However, in a hot environment (>30°C), a 2% dehydration of the body weight will always have an impact on performance. The table below clearly illustrates that performance decreases drastically as temperature rises.

Table: Theoretical Effects of Dehydration on Endurance Performance During Prolonged Exercise in Environments that Vary in Temperature from 5 to 30°C. (Sawka, et al. 2000).

The symptoms of hypohydration depend on the severity of the dehydration.

The symptoms of mild dehydration are: thirst, dry or sticky mouth, decreased urine output, dark yellow urine colour, headache and muscle cramps.

Serious symptoms of dehydration are: no urine output, a very dark yellow or orange urine colour, shrivelled skin, increased irritability, dizziness, accelerated heartbeat and breathing, sunken eyes, shock (due to a reduced flow of blood through the body) and unconsciousness. Cyclists and their support crew diligently monitor for signs of extreme dehydration. In the past, race conditions for the Tour of California have caused cyclists to faint and to become completely exhausted and dehydrated. The question remains whether cycling at temperatures of 50°C is humanly possible. Hypohydration is a danger for every athlete: sooner or later, he or she will be confronted with this phenomenon. However, the remedy is simple: by drinking regularly throughout the day and during the effort (training/race), these terrible consequences can be avoided.
However, beware: feeling thirsty is a warning to prevent the body from losing too much fluid, but it is not an adequate compass to regulate drinking behaviour. Thirst occurs when the loss of fluid amounts to about 2% of the body weight. Once a feeling of thirst is experienced, it is actually already too late to maintain performance at the required level. That is why athletes have to learn to drink before they get thirsty. On top of that, the thirst reflex may disappear altogether during intensive efforts.


The amount of electrolytes you lose depends on the amount and composition of your sweat. Both these factors vary strongly according to the physiology of the athlete in question and the external conditions in which the effort is expended. Therefore, it is very difficult to provide a precise picture of the amount and nature of the electrolytes contained in the sweat of a specific athlete (Maughan, 2000). At a professional level, this is often determined through individual sweat tests. Some athletes lose up to 1500 mg sodium per hour. They require a customised approach. In extreme weather conditions, in addition to the salts present in the ISOTONIC, salts will also be added in the form of ORS (Oral Rehydration Solution).


Sodium ensures that the water in our body is better retained. This may be explained as follows: if you were to only drink water during the expenditure of effort, the sodium levels in the blood would decrease. The resulting effect would be that less anti-diuretic hormone (ADH) would be excreted. ADH inhibits urine production. A reduction of this hormone increases urine production and accordingly increases fluid loss. When sodium is added to water, the sodium concentration in our body will be better maintained and urine production will not be additionally stimulated (Maughan, 2000; Ronald, 2001).

Sodium is chiefly present in sports drinks to improve the absorption of glucose: for each glucose molecule, one sodium molecule is required (Maughan, 2000). When glucose and sodium are transported over the bowel wall, water will also move in the same direction. Sodium and glucose actually draw the water along.

During the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman, the cyclists were consuming two bottles (1 litre) per hour. This provided them with fluid, electrolytes and the necessary energy. Additional energy is derived from gels and bars. A good ISOTONE thirst quencher with enough sodium is a basic requirement for every athlete.

Practical Guidelines:


Before the Expenditure of Effort:

Start your training/race perfectly hydrated (Casa, 2000; Sawka, 2007).The athlete can verify this by checking the colour of his or her urine. If it is light yellow, the athlete is perfectly hydrated; if the urine is dark, the athlete did not drink enough and urgent top-ups are required.

It is generally recommended to drink 300 to 600 ml of fluid during the pre-race meal and another 300 to 450 ml in the last 15 to 20 min. before the expenditure of effort. Water only replenishes fluid and is mainly suitable for shorter efforts. KH/electrolyte drinks (sports drinks) not only help you to replenish fluids, but also top up carbohydrates, which makes them more suitable for endurance races. Drinks with added salts, like most sports drinks, can also be useful to improve fluid retention prior to and during the expenditure of effort (Burke et al., 2010).

It is important for the athlete to have an idea of his/her personal dehydration during the effort (Sawka, 2007). This is really not so difficult: by weighing yourself before and after the effort, you will know exactly how much fluid was lost during the expenditure of effort. Every kilogram (kg) of weight lost equals about one litre (L) of fluid. This amount is added to the amount of fluid ingested during the expenditure of effort. The sum of both provides a reliable estimate of the total dehydration during the expenditure of effort (Cheuvront, 2004).

For example: an athlete who is 1 kg lighter after a training session and who ingested 1 litre of fluid during a training session, has lost a total of 2 litres of fluid during the expenditure of effort. As soon as an athlete knows what his or her individual fluid losses are, he or she will be able to prepare an individual plan.

During the expenditure of effort:

For expenditures of efforts of < 1 hour, the athlete must simply follow his or her thirst reflex and drink as much as he or she sees fit. Athletes with an unreliable feeling of thirst (e.g. thirst due to stress, weather conditions, etc.) should try to drink as 'much as possible' to avoid dehydration of more than 2% body weight (Goulet, 2014).

It is best to prepare a plan for fluid intake in advance.

Start drinking from the start of the effort and regularly take small sips.

What should you drink?
What you should drink depends on the duration and intensity of the effort.

Hypotonic, isotonic or hypertonic sports drinks?

To find out which type of sports drink it is, just look at the sugar content per 100 ml on the packaging and/or the osmolarity.
Osmolarity refers to the number of dissolved particles in a drink. Water moves from the part with fewer dissolved particles to the part with more dissolved particles. According to the number of dissolved particles, sports drinks can be divided into hypotonic, isotonic and hypertonic sports drinks. A sports drink containing as many particles by volume as blood (290mOsm/L) is called isotonic. Such drinks usually contain between 4-8 g KH per 100 ml. A drink containing fewer particles by volume than our blood is called hypotonic. Such drinks contain <4 g per KH per 100 ml. A drink containing more particles by volume than our blood is called hypertonic (>8g KH per 100 ml). The osmolarity of the sports drink affects the emptying of the stomach. Hypertonic sports drink will stay in the stomach longer and thus supply less fluid than will isotonic and hypotonic sports drinks.


It is recommended to choose a sports drink that:

  • contains 20 to 30 mmol/L (or 460 to 960 mg/L) sodium (Sawka, 2007).
  • tastes good and motivates you to drink.
  • may contain carbohydrates, depending on the duration of the effort.
  • has an osmolarity below 500mOsmol (this is not always clearly stated on the label).
  • has a temperature between 15-22°C (Szlyk, 1989).
  • does not contain additives such as carbon dioxide, vitamins or caffeine.
  • Take a few small sips from your drink every 15-20 minutes (150-300 ml), depending on your level of dehydration.

After the expenditure of effort:

  • Replenish the amount of fluid you lost during the expenditure of effort.
  • Drink 150% of the lost fluid within a period of 2 to 4 hours after the effort.
  • A drink rich in carbohydrates may help replenish carbohydrates and fluid after the effort. Water only replenishes fluid.
  • The drink should have a temperature between 10-15°C.

When the level of dehydration is significant (>2L) and/or quick rehydration is required, adding sodium to the drink may be recommended. Sports drinks and salty foods are ideal for this purpose (Burke et al., 2010).



  • AIS,
  • Altman, P. L. (1961). Blood and other body fluids. Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Washington, D. C.
  • Armstrong, L. E. (2007). Assessing hydration status: the elusive gold standard. J. Am. Coll. Nutr., 26: 575S-584S.
  • Arrief, A. I., & Kronlund, B. A. (1999). Fatal child abuse by forced water intoxication. Pediatrics. 103: 1292-1295.
  • Casa, D.  J., Armstrong, L. E., Hillman, S. K., Montain, S. J. (2000). National Athletic Trainers Association Position Statement: Fluid replacement for athletes. J. Athl. Tr., 35: 212-224.
  • Cheuvront, S. N., Carter, R., Montain, S., & Sawka, M. (2004).  Daily body mass variability and stability in active men undergoing exercise-heat stress. Int. J. Sport. Nutr. Exerc. Metab., 14: 532-540.
  • Costill, D. L., Saltin, B. (1975). Sweatings: its composition and effects on body fluids. Ann. NY. Acad. Sci., 301: 160-174, 1984.
  • Coyle, E. (2004). Fluid and fuel intake during exercise. Journal of Sports Sciences, 22, 39-55.
  • Coyle, E. (2005). Chapter 4: fluid and fuel intake during exercise. In: Maughan, J., Burke, L., Coyle, E., editors. Food nutrition and sports performance 2. Routledge New York; p. 63-91.
  • Institute of Medicine (IOM) (2005). Water. In dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride, and sulfate. Washington, D. C.: National Academies Press., pp. 73-185.
  • Been, A. (2006). The complete guide to sports nutrition: the young athlete. A&C Black, p155.
  • Burke, L. & Deakin, V. (2010). Clinical Sports Nutrition. McGraw-Hill Australia.
  • De Leon, J., Verghese, C., Tracy, J. I., Josiassen, R. C., Simpson, G. M. (1994). Polydipsia and water intoxication in psychiatric patients: a review of the epidemiological literature. Biol Psychiatry, 35: 408-419. 
  • De Winter, M. (2008) Water doet leven op:
  • Edelman, I. S., & Leibman, J. (1959). Anatomy of body water and electrolytes. Am. J. Med. 27:256-277.
  • European Food Safety Authority.(2010). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for Water. EFSA J. 8: 1459-1507.
  • Flear, C. T., Gill, G. V., & Burn, J. (1981). Beer drinking and hyponatraemia. Lancet, 2: 477.
  • Goulet, E. D. B. (2014). Performance effects of dehydration. The Encyclopedia of Sports Medicine: An IOC Medical Commission Publication, 19: 185-198.
  • Hoyt, R. W., & Honig, A. (1996). Environmental influences on body fluid balance during exercise: Altitude. In: Buskirk E. R., Puhl. S. M., editors. Body Fluid Balance: Exercise and sport. Boca Raton, F. L.: CRC Press, pp. 183-196.
  • Jequier, E., & Constant, F. (2010). Water as an essential nutrient: the physiological basis of hydration. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr., 64(2): 115-123. 
news Etixx - Quick-Step and Bakala Academy: Nutrition and Cycling 16/02/15 - 15:52

Etixx - Quick-Step works exclusively with Bakala Academy, where science meets sports, in order to optimize performance. Nutrition is one of the most important aspects of doing well on the bike. The team spoke with Sports Nutritionist Nicolas Paraskevopulos about the role of nutrition in the everyday life of our riders.

How does Bakala Academy tailor nutrition plans for the team?

We planned out a menu in preparation of the training camp we had in December. Plans cover their off-season as well as their season. This menu takes in account the daily energy needs and nutrient requirements of the riders. This means that the menu on a heavy training day is different from an easy day where they might have photo-shoots or other non-sporting events. However, most riders want an additional individual nutritional follow-up. That's why I was present at the first training camp in Spain: I sat down with the riders and discussed their goals for the season. I started with a body composition analysis and a personal nutrition coaching session. From that discussion onwards, and based on their initial body composition analysis, I help them work toward their specific goals using the menus we have provided. Given that preparation period is just starting it is normal that some of the riders are not yet at their competition weight, so this training camp the main focus is on improving body composition, say reducing body fat percentage and body weight, with minimal loss of muscle mass. I set up their personal meal plan for the training camp, and explain them what to change or not to change when they are back home. During the second training camp in January we had a second meeting and repeat edthe body composition measurements to assess the progress they made. The ideal time to improve body composition is between December and February. We want to start with nutritional coaching as soon as possible when training is relatively "easy" for them, because during the season it will be more difficult to get them close to their competition weight.

How do you try and balance the need to improve body composition and the need to conserve energy for training?

For professional riders it is even easier to do this than for the average Joe who has to combine training and work. I explain them that if they train in the morning, they should eat most of their carbohydrates — which fuels their performance during training — before, during and/or after their training session. They must learn to adjust their carbohydrate intake to the type of training. I tell them how many carbohydrates to ingest at breakfast, how many Etixx bars, gels, or sports drinks to consume in training, and how to use protein supplements and recovery drinks after training. So, for example, if a rider has an easy training day, he can eat his normal breakfast, a lower amount of carbohydrates during training and a protein-only shake for recovery after training. This will reduce his energy (kcal) intake. On a more strenuous training day, he must increase carbohydrate intake during training, and use a recovery drink with carbohydrates and proteins immediately after training. Another option for those aiming to lose body weight is to omit rice, pasta, bread and potatoes at dinner. However, carbohydrate intake should only be reduced when the riders don't need them to supply energy during training.

So despite all of these possible chances at adjusting their meals, they are still eating meals throughout the day?

The riders accumulate about six eating moments per day on average. This includes breakfast, nutrition during training, and an Etixx high protein drink or recovery shake after training, followed by lunch. They also eat a (protein) snack between lunch and dinner, which can bring the total to six. While the meals before and after training are most important for performance and recovery, the "other" meals throughout the rest of the day will have a huge impact on their body composition. So the key world for our riders is "consistency".

Are the meals different for the types of riders, for example a sprinter versus a climber?

They will have access to the same foods, but the amount they eat should be different. A sprinter has more muscle mass than a climber, so they need a higher intake from all macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat). Relatively speaking the number is the same (grams per kilogram body mass) when training is the same, but absolutely speaking, they need more food volume just because they are "bigger".

We talked about carbohydrates a lot so far, but what about the role of proteins for these riders?

It is well known that protein ingestion, in combination with a resistance training program, promotes gains in muscle mass and strength. However, by manipulating the amount, type and timing of their protein intake our riders can benefit more from the hours they spend on their bike. Protein is the key nutrient in the muscle remodeling processes after training. These processes include the repair of damaged muscle tissue but also the synthesis of oxidative enzymes and mitochondria within the muscle cell, which help to metabolize the foods we eat into usable energy for the muscle. A slight increase in protein intake also helps to spare muscle mass while dieting to cut down body weight. Riders always lose unnecessary muscle mass in their upper body as the season progresses and energy expenditure increases, but we want to retain their muscle mass in their legs (which equals power) as much as possible. So high-quality protein intake is very important not only during the weight loss phase but also during competitive season. We also know that protein is not only crucial to stimulate training adaptations immediately after training, but probably as well throughout the rest of the day via balanced repeated protein feedings (≥20g of protein every 3-4 h). It is better for hunger control as well, so with weight reduction goals this can be important. I learn them to add a high-quality protein source (milk, eggs, meat, fish ...) to each meal and to eat 2 protein snacks daily, for example a protein or recovery shake after training and cottage cheese or Greek yogurt before bed rest. At training camps, for example, they have dinner late in the evening, so one protein snack is eaten between lunch and dinner instead of just before bed.

What about the role of fat?

Fats are very important for an athlete. This means our riders need to get a wide variety of fats from their diet daily. The menu includes fatty fish regularly so they ingest plenty omega-3 fatty acids. We always have other healthy fats such as nuts and seeds available as a snack or we include them (e.g. olive oil, avocado ...) in the preparation of our meals. We for sure try to provide sufficient high-quality fats during season preparation in the winter. During race season we focus more on supplying sufficient carbohydrates and high-quality proteins.

Are there any riders who have specific nutrition requirements?

There are always riders with the typical gluten or lactose intolerances. We try to provide alternative gluten and lactose free foods to these riders so they feel comfortable during training and competition. We always try to offer that extra individual meal alternative. So a rider that requires a gluten-free substitute can eat rice, a lactose intolerant rider can opt for a soy-based alternative.

So overall, since Bakala Academy is about where science meets sports, where does nutrition fall in that relationship in terms of its importance for cycling performance?

Only talented riders have the potential to become successful in professional cycling. However, it is only through training that a rider can reach his full potential and nutrition supports this process. Personalized sports nutrition optimizes performance during training and racing, it enhances recovery and the adaptations that occur after training and it helps riders to reach their optimal body composition for competition. These are all essential details that influence a rider's success in modern cycling, where differences are small and it is all about getting these last details right. Bakala Academy is up-to-date on the latest innovations in nutritional science, to make sure the riders get an optimal and innovative support. Sports nutrition alone won't make a champion, but at the end of a hard race with only the most talented riders left in the final, sports nutrition can be that difference between winning and losing.

news Etixx - Quick-Step Trains Strength & Stability! 20/12/14 - 17:45

During the Etixx - Quick-Step training camp in Spain from December 8th until the 18th, the riders performed a few strength and stability sessions immediately after training with team physiotherapists Jens Tummeleer and Steven Vrancken. This was a continuation of a strength and stability program consisting of several phases for each rider. In the interview below, Jens and Steven explain the role of training off the bike for these riders.

Can you explain when the winter strength and stability training starts?

Steven: "We started with the Belgian guys the first week in November. Every Monday and Friday we went to the track of Gent. They did two hours of track training, and then normally two hours of strength and stability directly after. Sometimes it was the opposite way, but normally it was track before the strength and stability."

What about the other riders?

Steven: "The other guys also get the program, but for the Belgian guys it is easier for them to travel to where we are located in Belgium to work with us. Everyone gets a winter training program to do at home, but we work directly with the guys who are closest to us. It would be too much to ask the riders outside of Belgium to travel to work with us when they need to focus on recovery outside of riding. But we use this time at training camp in Spain to also work directly with the other guys, so if they need help with anything they can ask us, and we can watch their workouts so we can direct them. This makes it so they know the right technique and such when they are at home. All the riders are on the same level with what type of training they do off the bike in this way."

Why are strength and stability important for the riders of Etixx – Quick-Step?

Jens: "If you don't have stability, the power you put out is not applied at an optimal angle to the pedal. That is a loss off efficiency straight away and is a problem. With riders who haven't done this kind of training off the bike before, once they do it, they feel the difference in their pedal stroke.

Steven: "The last three to five years strength training has become more important during the winter. Before the riders of our team didn't do it, except for stability training for the lower back. But certainly the last three years they also started more and more with the strength during the winter period. Stability training and 'core' work has always been important, but it's the strength aspect that is recent, and it is becoming increasingly valuable as performance benefits and injury prevention are being recognized."

Post by Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team (official).

Can you give me an example of a muscle group that benefits from strength and stability training?

Jens: "One easy example is the abdominal muscles. If you spend all day in the flexed position, everything just hangs with the abdominals and they get really weak, soft, and tired. That is one muscle group that will cause cyclists a lot of problems in the long run if they don't train them off the bike."

How does the training change from the beginning until the end of the winter training?

Steven: "In the beginning there is less volume and intensity during the exercise. The next level, once they adapt, we try to increase the workload. They need to get used to the movements before we push them."

Do riders tell you that they feel a difference?

Jens: "I think you can see with the new guys, they aren't really sure what they are doing and they aren't used to these kinds of workouts They can tell you that they feel the biggest difference because they simply have never done these things before. The veteran guys, they know these workouts and their bodies don't have to adapt as much. They can still feel the difference, but maybe not quite so clearly. They know it's important and stick to the program. However, we have seen increases in the power of even the veterans based on what our trainers have told us. The Belgian guys are already showing some progress, and we only started in November with the winter strength and stability training. That shows it makes sense to do this, that it works for us and it is worth the effort."

Do you alter the programs for each rider, or is it more general?

Steven: "We make sure the riders are tested with movement screenings before the program is designed for them. Based on the testing, some have to do different exercises according to their individualized needs. For example, single leg exercises. If they have power differences in the left or right leg, there is work they can do in order to get the power on the same level with the other leg."

Thank you for this information guys!

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