‘Training on the rollers burns you out’: Alejandro Valverde and Peter Sagan admit their dislike of indoor training

The former world champion says he's pessimistic of any racing happening this year at all

While pro riders around the world have had to adjust to life without racing and in some cases the ability to ride outdoors, indoor training has come to the foreground.

Many members of the peloton have flocked to online platforms such as Zwift, with teams holding races and ride-alongs with fans to pass the time, but it’s not necessarily for everyone.

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Former world champion Alejandro Valverde lives in Spain, which is experiencing some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe, and is one rider who has said the lack of outdoor riding and racing has left him without motivation.

“I have little motivation because I don’t know what my next goals will be. Training on the rollers burns you out physically and mentally,” Valverde told El Mundo.

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Despite the UCI releasing a revised and provisional racing calendar for later in the year, with the Tour de France pushed back by two months, Valverde says he wouldn’t be surprised if we have to wait until 2021 for the next bike race.

“We want the sport to get going again but to be honest I am very pessimistic that it will happen this year,” he said. “At the beginning of the quarantine I was still hopeful but I am increasingly thinking that there will be no racing at all.”

Peter Sagan is another rider who says he is not a fan of indoor training and that he doesn’t plan to participate in any eRaces in the future.

“I am a real driver, not a virtual one. Or maybe I should race the rollers with a motorbike,” he said in an Instragram Live Q&A. “I am currently quarantined in my apartment in Monaco. I am forced to train on the rollers and miss the feeling and the races on the road. But I am healthy. Others in the world are in much worse shape.”

It’s not just former world champions that dislike indoor training, though, with Valverde’s old team-mate Mikel Landa taking an axe to his turbo trainer the other week.



Some within the sport have highlighted the varying effect of different lockdown rules on the parity of riders’ form once racing eventually resumes.

Groupama-FDJ’s performance director Frédéric Grappe recently told L’Equipe: “If some people can continue riding outside, we will have a two-speed Tour de France.

“We will see a pitiful spectacle and we will not respect the public if we proceed in this way. And what about sporting fair play?

“The only way to do it fairly is to have a no-race period. Training loads have to be gradually increased. A block of work to rebuild basic competitiveness lasts about four weeks. It takes at least that to get back to an equal level of fitness among riders.”