Preparation Builds Versatile Predator
Armstrong is the only man ever to win the Tour de France six times.
benefits beyond just physical performance. When you?re struggling to keep up, as Ullrich, Kl?den, and Basso were in the USPS team?s wake going up major climbs, you?re just focused on survival. You?re body and brain are doing everything possible to maintain contact with the rider in front of you. Since the pace was more comfortable for Armstrong, he could focus his attention on strategies for winning the stages while his rivals were trying to avoid being left behind.
When you?re not fully prepared for competition, you have fewer opportunities to win. In the Tour de France, if you?re very strong in the climbs but less prepared for the flat stages, you can only take advantage of your strengths on five or six of the 21 days of racing. Likewise, if you come to the Tour believing you can win just by crushing people in time trials, you?re limited to three opportunities. Lance?s fitness and the collective strength of his team meant every single day suited their strengths.
The men closest behind Armstrong in the Tour de France all have the potential to win the yellow jersey, but to do so they have to arrive at the start more prepared than Armstrong, and that?s a tall order.
Lance focuses on the Tour de France for 12 months a year. He never gets very far out of shape, never lets his weight get out of control, and never allows wavers his commitment to training. In the dead of winter, Lance is out there doing intervals and long hours on the bike because they build a foundation strong enough to support his efforts through the spring and summer. During the early season, Armstrong may not be in his best condition but he?s a factor in races and usually places in the top ten. Starting from that fitness level, you can improve to Tour condition gradually and maintain that form all the way through the race. You can?t go from struggling to hang on at the back of races to leading the Tour de France in just two month?s time, and expect that form to last for three weeks.
Food, including carbohydrate, provides the fuel for athletic performance. I match Lance?s nutrient intake to the demands of his training throughout the year in order to keep his weight under control while still ensuring he gets the fuel he needs for optimal performance. As a result, he doesn?t have to waste time and effort cutting calories or increasing training hours to lose a lot of weight in the month prior to the Tour. At this level of sport, the effort necessary to actively lose weight can be detrimental to training performance. Jan Ullrich lost 11 pounds in the weeks prior to the Tour this year and the rapid weight loss may have been partially responsible for his lackluster performance in the mountains.
Lance Armstrong?s attention to training, nutrition, equipment choices, and team selection make him the perfect predator at the Tour de France. Like a wolf, lion or tiger, he