How to Train Like Tadej Pogacar Before the Tour de France

By Zach Nehr

Everything you need to know about the pre-Tour efforts of Tadej Pogačar

Tadej Pogačar just won the pink jersey, blue mountains jersey, and six stages at the Giro d’Italia, but he has even bigger goals. In just 33 days, Pogačar will line up at the start of the Tour de France in Firenze, Italy. Those weeks in between the Giro and Tour are complicated – should Pogačar train easy, train hard, or rest?

Of course, the answer is all of the above. UAE Team Emirates will monitor Pogačar’s training load as carefully as possible during this crucial time period. The Slovenian was clearly on form at the Giro, but he’s aiming to be even better at the Tour.

In this article, we’ll take you inside Tadej Pogačar’s training program between the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France.

Post-Giro Rest and Pre-Tour Altitude

After the final stage in Rome, Pogačar will head to high altitude for a two to three-week block ahead of the Tour de France. Pogačar and UAE Team Emirates will need to ensure that he is sufficiently recovered from the Giro before restarting training.

This process may take a few days…or a few weeks. There isn’t much time between the Giro and the Tour, so Pogačar’s training will need to be adjusted on the fly. Once he is ready to restart training, these are a few key sessions that he’ll be ticking off at camp.

[IMAGE – Pogačar_Giro d’Italia 2024]

Tempo and Criss-cross Tempo

Zone 2 endurance training will cover most of Pogačar’s training, but here, we’ll focus on his high-intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions. First up is Tempo and Criss-cross Tempo. These sessions include long sections of Zone 3 (Tempo) riding just above endurance pace.

Pogačar spends a lot of time in Zones 2-3 during Grand Tours, whether it is the first climb of a long stage or a fast sprint stage. Thus, training these zones is crucial to his performance.

At the beginning of his pre-Tour training, Pogačar may start with three sets of 15 minutes at Tempo with eight minutes of recovery. Tempo can vary in power and heart rate zones, but it is always somewhere between Zone 2 (Endurance) and Zone 4 (Threshold or FTP).

For example, Pogačar might perform a Tempo training session of 3×15 minutes at 80% FTP with eight minutes of recovery at 55% FTP. Later in the training block, when Pogačar is pushing harder and nearing his peak training load, he might perform a Tempo training session of 3×15 minutes at 89% FTP with eight minutes of recovery at 55% FTP.

Criss-cross Tempo is a much harder session that simulates race-like accelerations. Instead of 3×15 minutes steady, a Criss-cross Tempo session includes short sections of Zone 4 and maybe even Zone 5. Some refer to these intervals as Over/Unders. Here’s an example Criss-cross Tempo session for Pogačar:

3×18 minutes [3x (3 minutes at 100% FTP into 3 minutes at 80% FTP)] with ten minutes of recovery at 55% FTP.


Though we haven’t seen Pogačar win a bunch sprint (yet), that doesn’t mean he doesn’t train his 15-second power. For a rider of his size, Pogačar actually has a very strong sprint compared to his GC and climbing rivals. This didn’t happen by accident, either. Pogačar trains his sprint power throughout the season, from the winter all the way through the week before the Tour de France.

Pogačar’s sprint training session is focused on achieving the maximum 15-second power. To allow him to fully recover, 10 minutes of easy riding are included between each sprint.

During Pogačar’s Pre-Tour training camp, he might complete a sprint session including six sets of 15-second sprints with 10 minutes of recovery.

[IMAGE – Pogačar sprinting]

VO2 Max

The final piece in Pogačar’s training puzzle is VO2 Max training. These sessions include intervals at a very high intensity. Thus, the intervals are short and sweet, but they can be very challenging.

A typical VO2 Max training session for Pogačar might be four sets of three minutes at 110% FTP with four minutes of recovery. The precise intervals can vary between two and four minutes and 105-120% FTP. Crucially, the recovery period must be slightly longer than the VO2 Max interval to allow for as much recovery as possible.

In the 33 days between the Giro and the Tour, Tadej Pogačar will be training to make history. The UAE Team Emirates rider would become one of a handful of riders to complete the Giro-Tour double, but it will take much careful planning and hard training. In between interval sessions, Pogačar will ride hundreds of kilometers in Zones 1 and 2, allowing his body to simultaneously rest, recover, and adapt.

Here are Tadej Pogačar’s Pre-Tour de France Training Sessions

Tempo: 3x15min @ 85% FTP with 8min recovery @ 55% FTP

Criss-cross Tempo: 3x18min [3x (3min @ 100% FTP into 3min @ 80% FTP)] w/10min recovery @ 50% FTP

Sprints: 6x15sec sprints with 10min recovery @ 60% FTP

VO2 Max: 4x3min @ 110% FTP with 4 min recovery @ 55% FTP

 About the Author

 Zach is a freelance writer, professional cyclist, and the owner of ZNehr Coaching. He writes about everything related to bikes and endurance sports, from product reviews and advertorials to feature articles and pro data analytics. You can find Zach racing the Sunday Race Club on MyWhoosh every weekend.

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