How to train for a Cobbled Classic race

2 min read

One of the most exciting Cobbled Classics of the 2022 calendar is here. The Paris-Roubaix, rightly named the “Queen of the Classics” and referred to by many as the “Hell of the North”, is a truly gruelling day out for the riders but an incredible spectacle for fans – both on the side of the road or watching at home.

The Women’s 125km race is on Saturday 16th April and features 17 sectors of bone rattling cobbles covering just shy of 30kms. The Men’s on Sunday 17th April covers a total distance of 257.5km with 30 sectors of cobbles totalling 54.7km.

An incredible test for any rider, the Paris Roubaix is one of the most prestigious races, inaugurated in 1896. It’s also one of the oldest bike races in the world, but interestingly, only last year did we see a women’s race organised.

So perhaps you’re thinking, how do I train for a cobbled classic on my indoor trainer? 

The Classics are seen as a test of form - winning a Classic can be tough as you have to beat the best, at their best. But most of the race winning moves come from an attack, or a short climb, sometimes on cobbles.

So preparing for these races requires plenty of time spent doing short, intense efforts (of one to five minutes) and working around your threshold. Heart rate and max power are less of a consideration because the purpose of classics training is to push yourself to the limit. They are the ultimate test of strength, power and mental toughness.

Here are 3 workouts that you can try on the Wattbike Hub (our free training app) to ramp up your training and really put yourself to the test, just like the riders in the Paris-Roubaix.

Workout 1:

Name: 30/30 Up and Unders 10s

Category: Speed

Length: 1 Hour

Description: This workout features three blocks of 10-minute intervals of 30 seconds working above your FTP and 30 seconds just below FTP, with 5-minute recovery between each block. 30/30 Up and Unders will improve your pace-change responsiveness, strengthening your ability to respond to sudden power changes when you’re already working hard. This is one that’ll test your mental toughness, just like the 30 cobbled sectors in the Paris-Roubaix race.

Workout 2:

Name: Descending Pyramid

Category: Speed

Length: 40 mins

Description: Set to improve your ability to repeat high power efforts and recover quickly in between blocks, this workout will focus on your cardiovascular efficiencies and burn calories. Session starts with an easy 5-minute ramp, which then ups to 135% of your FTP for 8 minutes. The main workout block lasts 20 minutes and made up of intervals that are between 50% and 115% of your FTP.

Workout 3:

Name: Sprint Stage

Category: Cycling Simulation Workouts

Length: 36 mins

Description: This workout focuses on four sprint intervals over 16 minutes at FTP levels varying between 99% - 120%. The increase in power towards the end of each interval will push your muscles' ability to deal with fatigue and produce high power after sustained effort.


Don’t forget to share your workout selfies on social media.

Tag @Wattbike and #Wattbikers.

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