Feature: Importance of testing and preparation for the Grenadiers

25 Jun 2021

Feature: Importance of testing and preparation for the Grenadiers

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With the Tour de France set to begin on June 26, the team’s recent training camp in Tenerife provides a critical backdrop for preparation and testing for the team, with riders putting in punishing days on the island to help hone their condition ahead of the big race.

We caught up with Rod Ellingworth, Director of Racing at INEOS Grenadiers, to explain the importance of testing for the team.
“As a team, we have to continually improve every aspect of our operations and performance. Testing and data are absolutely critical to that. In the highly competitive world of elite sport, if you stop moving forwards, you risk finding yourself on the back foot.
“Riders train and push themselves year round to prepare for a Grand Tour. The team uses a range of fitness and medical tests and training methods to ensure we always have a comprehensive understanding of where the riders are at, and where they need to be. We constantly look at their fitness, health, nutrition, speed and power outputs through our data capture at training camps and preparation races.”
Ellingworth added: “For the Tour de France, the majority of our squad travels to Tenerife for an altitude training camp in May. These will be some of the hardest training blocks that the riders will undergo all year. It enables them to train to their limits at altitude and to target their ideal power to weight ratio, which is critical for a three-week endurance race like the Tour. 
“In addition, the races leading into a Grand Tour are very important, both for looking at riders’ physical condition and the data we get from the power and other monitoring tools we use, but also to check in on their commitment to the teams’ objective.”
The riders aren’t the only key members of the team where preparation and testing oneself is important.
The Grenadier has supported the team on four Grand Tours to date, with the team winning two of them.

The Grenadier has supported the team on four Grand Tours to date, with the team winning two of them.

At this year's Tour de France, look out for the INEOS Grenadier, the uncompromising 4X4 that gives the team its name, as the same preparation process is under way. There are more similarities between team and vehicle than you might think.
Built to operate at extremes, and in the toughest conditions. Climbing and descending with stability and speed. Pushing to breaking point, all with the goal of being ready when the time comes. The repeated efforts of an unrelenting testing schedule are no stranger to the riders of the INEOS Grenadiers. It’s these “hard yards” that have helped us on the way to 12 Grand Tour victories.
Around the same time the Grenadiers were taking victory at the Giro d’Italia, the Grenadier was completing its first phase of testing in the Austrian Alps, at 1,445 metres with steep gradients of up to 60 percent. Unforgiving, relentless rocky terrain put the vehicle’s off-road capabilities through its paces, but that was only the start. Engineers are subjecting every component to meticulous testing over the course of 1.8 million unrelenting kilometres across 15 countries.
A number of those kilometres serve a key dual purpose, with the 4x4 testing in plain sight at some of the world’s biggest bike races. Not only does the vehicle support the team and its riders on the road, the distance the prototype vehicles rack up on race all contribute towards the larger testing programme. Working with the team throughout this year’s Giro meant the vehicle was on hand in Milan to celebrate overall victory.
Analysing and understanding performance is at the centre of both the Grenadier and the Grenadiers, so as you watch this years Tour de France bear in mind this is a critical proving ground for both man and machine.

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