After a demanding week of racing at Tirreno-Adriatico, Trek-Segafredo's Koen de Kort is ready to tackle the first Monument of the season - Milan-Sanremo on Saturday:
Preparing for Milan-Sanremo
Straight after the final time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico on Tuesday, we jumped on the bus for a long drive to Sanremo. We’re staying just along the coast in Santo Stefano al Mare to prepare for the big race on Saturday.
We had a really quiet and easy day yesterday, and today all the guys who are riding on Saturday will do a recon. After that we’ll drive to Milan and do the last preparation for the race. We’ll spend some time together and talk through our plan.
It’s the first Monument, the first real big goal for the team and for all of us so it’s good to refresh the memory of the area. For some of the guys it’s their first time - Jasper Stuyven hasn’t done it before and he’s going to be a key guy. It will be important for him to see the final, and know what to expect.
With Milan-Sanremo being such a long race our preparation is a bit different. Tapering and carb-loading is a lot more important; you can aim to be at your maximum for just one day, as opposed to a stage race. Carb loading is key because you’ll really notice the difference racing 300km. You need to make sure the tank is completely full.
How to avoid overtraining
I’m old enough now and I’ve got enough experience that I know when I’m pushing my body too far. I know the difference between normal tiredness and being overtrained. It did happen to me early in my career, so I know what happens. You need to go over the line once to know where the line is.
I studied human movement science so I understand how it works. As endurance athletes we’re constantly trying to push our bodies as far as we can. If you have a good trainer who keeps an eye on everything, and you’re open and honest with them about how you’re feeling, you shouldn’t have a problem.
A lot of things can be seen from the raw data - for instance the correlation between power and heart rate: if your heart rate isn’t going up, it’s an indication that your body is getting really tired. If you ride a Grand Tour you are technically being over-trained but there’s a difference between ‘over-reaching’ and overtraining. With some rest after a Grand Tour you will return to a higher level in the end – but that’s not the case with overtraining.
After a tough week at Tirreno-Adriatico it’s about recharging the batteries now. We had blue skies and perfect weather there but every stage was hard. We were always pushing and went deep every day – the kind of racing that suits me. So it's mainly recon this week, with a couple of hours on the bike just to let the body know that it’s not a holiday.
The final time trial at Tirreno was my first recovery day ahead of Milan-Sanremo. I just did a short warm-up and the time trial so the focus was already on this weekend. We’ll have another easy day tomorrow and on Saturday, we’ll be ready to go.