Preparing at altitude for the biggest race in the world

Preparing at altitude for the biggest race in the world
Squad heads to Andorra before the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift

Members of the Human Powered Health team are in Andorra training ahead of the biggest race of the season, the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift. As well as reaping the performance benefits of riding day-on-day at altitude from their base of the lodge at ribasol, the athletes have been bonding with new arrival Antri Christoforou and maximizing their recovery time with Thorne products. 

“It’s very good to be on altitude training camp because I can be with my teammates,” says Cypriot champion Christoforou, whose first race will be the Tour de France Femmes. “We ride hard with a lot of climbing and the roads are quiet with not so many cars, so we can focus on our workouts. This is the perfect combination for the Tour de France Femmes.”

The riders were joined for their first week by women’s team director Joanne Kiesanowski

“The Tour de France Femmes is pretty climbing-heavy,” she said. “It’s great for their preparation to come to a place like this where they can climb a lot because that will help them so much for those last five days of the Tour.”

As someone who lived at altitude while she was a professional, basing herself in Colorado Springs, Kiesanowski understands the many benefits that a two-week camp like this can provide to the riders when it comes to both training and recovery time.

High-intensity altitude training is vital, and Andorra is perfect for that because you can descend lower,” Kiesanowski explains. “The lodge is at 1,500 meters but it’s very easy to get down to 1,200 so you get the best of both ways of training to get ready for those flatter stages.”

As well as the physical benefits of altitude training, Kiesanowski explained how our athletes will also experience a mental boost once they are deep into the race. 

“Those sessions of over 3,000 meters of climbing are what you feel in the last few days of the Tour as you will get that muscle memory back and that gives you the confidence in the head.”

The athletes have been staying at the team’s partner, The Lodge at Ribasol. Promising “extraordinary service” and supplying guests with all the modern amenities they need to make their stay comfortable, the lodge is the ideal base.

The location is perfect,” says Kiesanowski. “It’s not too high, so the riders don’t get the other symptoms that can happen at extreme altitudes. Being at the lodge is perfect given the timing of the camp as we’re only a few weeks out, rest and recovery are also improved.”

With the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift on the horizon, go inside the camp with our gallery of images from the principality.