Cycling News

From Team Sky to Wout van Aert – how altitude training revolutionised preparation for the Classics

Geraint Thomas and Wout van Aert composite image

After three weeks of lonesome labour on the volcano, Wout van Aert heads straight into the crucible of the cobbled Classics when he lines up at the E3 Saxo Classic on Friday. For the past 22 days, the Belgian was sparring with shadows up and down Mount Teide. On Friday, he will trade blows with Mathieu van der Poel in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes.

For generations, received wisdom decreed that this kind of abrupt transition from training camp to racing was simply too risky to be worthwhile, but that thinking has been turned on its head in recent years. Just this month, after all, Tadej Pogacar delivered an 81km solo to win on his first race day at Strade Bianche, while Van der Poel began his season with the Oscar for best supporting actor at Milan-San Remo.

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