Victor Campenaerts is sleeping at 4,700m in altitude tent ‘to feel like a rider who took EPO’

The Belgian time trial star is still taking his training seriously, despite a lack of racing

Victor Campenaerts (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Time trial star Victor Campenaerts has revealed he is sleeping at 4,700 metres in his altitude tent, so he can “feel like a rider who took EPO.”

The NTT Pro Cycling rider said he is already ready to race, despite the UCI suspending all events due to coronavirus.

Campenaerts, the reigning Hour Record holder, is preparing for the World Championships time trial and the Giro d’Italia by setting his altitude tent to almost the highest level possible.

Sleeping at altitude helps your body use oxygen more efficiently, which can be a huge performance boost to pro cyclists.

>>> Altitude training for cyclists: does it work and could you benefit? (video) 

Campenaerts told broadcaster Sporza: “After those weeks in an altitude tent you are super strong. Because you have produced so many red bood cells, you should be able to feel like a rider who took EPO.”

The 28-year-old spent three weeks sleeping in his altitude tent at 4,700m – any higher and his body would not be able to function properly.

He added: “Medically, that is the height at which you are just not starting to die. If you went higher, your body would start to break down because it is too heavy.”

For pros, altitude camps are essential both to prepare for races that enter the high mountains and also to improve oxygen efficiency for events like time trials.

But due to the global spread of coronavirus, altitude camps have been non-existent in 2020 with riders forced to find other ways of adapting their training.

Campenaerts had been targeting the Giro d’Italia in May as he is still in search of his first Grand Tour stage victory.

But the race has now been postponed until October, after the World Championships in Swizterland in late September.

Campenaerts has been knocking on the door of a major victory for the last few seasons, finishing third in the Worlds TT in 2018 and narrowly missing out on victory twice during last year’s Giro.

>>> Riders should keep same jersey number for every race, says Jumbo-Visma boss 

But the Hour Record proved his class against the clock, as he rode 55.089km to beat the record previously set by Sir Bradley Wiggins.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.