CHLOE HOSKING – ALE CIPOLLINI
Next up to the Bike Breaks pro rider corner is Chloe Hosking! Chloe is an Australian born professional and has been based in Girona since 2010. She is part of Italian World Tour team, Ale Cipollini and is currently one of the best sprinters in the world.
Chloe has had a very impressive run of results on the World tour and her past few seasons have been nothing short of outstanding. She won the 2016 Le Course by Le Tour de France on the famous Champs-Élysées, to highlight a string of other wins. This season she has already won a race and podiumed several times in big events.
We have followed Chloe closely since she moved to Girona and are constantly impressed by her keenness and ability to excel in cycling at the highest level.
As a dominant sprinter, Chloe has kindly shared some excellent tips on sprinting and a detailed description of her go-to sprint loop and training session in Girona – perhaps one to try!
I moved to Girona in 2010. This is a fact I don’t like to advertise, not because I’m worried a pack of crazy female cycling fans will descend upon the city, but because my Spanish and Catalan language skills should be much further advanced than they are for the period of time I have made this gorgeous town my European base.
There was little logic behind my decision to base myself in Girona. When I signed my first professional contract with the now defunct HTC-Columbia I needed somewhere to live, and roommates to split the rent with. As luck would have it, two other young Australian girls had also just signed ‘pro’ and were looking for a roommate, in Girona. So I packed my bags and moved there. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
It didn’t take me long to fall in love with the city which has since become a cycling hotspot. The allure of Girona extends beyond the great weather, fantastic restaurants and easy access to airports. For cyclists — behind the food — the main draw card is the huge variety of training roads and the seemingly endless options of ride routes.
It was this last factor that really sealed the deal for me. In the past seven years I have expanded my ‘ride route library’ exponentially from my tiny corner of the world in Canberra, Australia. While some of my routes fall in and out of favour with me like various members of the Kardashian clan with the rest of the world there is one route that has remained a fixture throughout my time in Girona; my sprint loop.
For those who know a bit about me, this will not come as a surprise. I am, after all, a sprinter.
My sprint loop is fairly straight forward; two hours on relatively flat terrain with ten, maximum effort sprints.
If you’re coming to Girona and want a shorter ride that still packs a punch but leaves you with enough energy to roam through the historic Jewish quarter in the afternoon maybe this is a route, and a training session, you should consider adding to your Girona itinerary.
If so, check out my step by step breakdown:
STEP 1: You probably will be surprised to learn that we start uphill. But don’t worry, it doesn’t last for long. Make your way out of town along Avinguda del Doctor Lluis Pericot, turning left at the round-a-bout to continue up the hill and along the GI-6705. Use the beginning of the ride to spin your legs and keep your heart rate relatively low. You’ll stay in this zone for the first 30minutes of the ride so enjoy it while you can.
STEP 2: At the T-intersection turn left onto the GIP-6631 towards Fornells de la Selva. While you’re zooming downhill look out to the mountain range on your left towards the infamous ‘Hincapie’ climb, undoubtedly you will make a play for the Strava GPM of this climb before your time in Girona is over.
STEP 3: Continue through Fornells onto Carrer d’Isaac Albeniz. This is still your warm up so feel free to pause and take a selfie with the stunning Pyrenees in the background. It’s a back drop that not even photo shop could out do.
STEP 4: Continue through the round-a-about which will see you cross over the C-25 moving towards Sant Andreu Salou. It’s when you reach this quaint little town that you need to start thinking about gripping your handle bars and channeling your inner Kittel, Cavendish or whoever you think your sprinter-look-alike is.
Once you’re through the town and onto the flat this is where you will do your first sprints.
Start by selecting a gear. Make sure you’re in the big chain ring and then choose a cog between 5-2 places from the very bottom of the cassette.
Once you’ve got this, the next step is to lock your hands on the drops and start winding up the gear. You want to start your sprint from about 35-40km/hr.
When you hit a speed you’re happy with explode out of the saddle and focus on moving power from your legs through the pedals. Try and use your arms and core to keep your upper body fixed and your tailbone up. When I was younger my coach told me to imagine I was a dog with its tail in the air when I was sprinting. Sounds weird I know but it might be something for you to consider also.
Hold the sprint for the full ten seconds. It’s always better to sprint for 12 seconds instead of eight.
And that’s it. For the next two minutes. Yes you only get two minutes recovery between sprints. Then go all over again; select gear, lock arms, and explode.
STEP 5: You should be able to get two to three sprints in on this flatter section after Sant Andreu Salou. When you hit the T-intersection turn right onto the GIV-4742 and continue down the hill. Your third or fourth sprint will be down the hill which will give you a good opportunity to practice sprinting at a higher speed. Unfortunately, your fifth sprint will likely come on an uphill drag. But don’t worry, we can’t control what race finishes are like so we have to be prepared for everything.
STEP 6: When you hit the round-a-bout, take the third exit onto the GI-674. You will finish the rest of your sprints along this section of road which is commonly used for motor pacing by top pros like Luke Durbridge and Joelle Numainville.
STEP 7: With your sprints are finished take a moment to soak in the view as you ride towards Llagostera. This is one of my favourite views while riding; watching the Catalan flag flying proudly from their city ‘castle’. At the round-a-about turn left onto the C-253a and then a quick left onto Carrer de Panedes.
STEP 8: Make your way through the round-a-bout and turn left onto the C-65 and cruise back towards Girona. You can follow this road all the way back into town taking a slight right at Quart onto the C-250a.
And that’s it, your (my) Girona sprint loop and sprint session. It doesn’t have the breath taking views of the Costa Brava coastline as you sweep down Sant Grau or an epic amount of altitude metres like if you were to climb to St. Hilari but it does take you through some of the gorgeous country towns scattered around Girona and onto some of the favourite ‘back roads’ of the Girona professionals.
Big thanks to Chloe for this detailed description and excellent advise on sprinting and her go-to Girona sprint loop. Who´s up for some sprint training?!