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.
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.
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.