Training plan for Tour of Flanders sportive

Hi all,

Can anyone recommend a ready made training plan for a 59 year old with basic cycling fitness that will help me train for We Ride Flanders, this will be my 5th time I’ve done the event. I’ve just completed a 12 week plan with Systm to get my fitness back to the basic level which included yoga and strength. Ideally I could do with something that maintains my endurance but with the capacity to tackle the short sharp climbs.

Many thanks in advance

We live parallel lives so it seems, even though I’m a bit younger.
I’m in my rest week after a 12 week All purpose road plan. I have the 4 week Mountain goat plan added from next week onwards. This is still an older plan which I added from the old app. You can add this one if it fits your needs, otherwise I’d go for:
Event Prep > Road > Mountaneous Fondo

My outdoor season is starting end of February with the start of the cyclo’s. I’ll just ride the different ‘a week with…’ series to fill the gaps till RVV.

Meet you there :smile:

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Would you both care to keep this thread going please? The RVV sportive is on the list for 2023, so very interested to know what training you put in and how that translated into the big day.


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The 200m gavel grinder is probably the best out of the box plan or you could get a custom plan built by one of the coaches.

Good luck👍🏻

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For the RVV, you need base miles and a lot of them.

If you want to ride 250km, you need te be able to ride 250km. You have to have done 200km at least once before april.

As for a plan, I agree with @PeterEire : the 200mile gravel grinder seems a good fit.

For the rest: enjoy it, the RVV is one off the best sportive you can do (done it twice already)


For short, sharp climbs then doing some work especially on MAP if they’re around the 5ish min mark or AC if they’re 1-2min would be beneficial. Including some outdoor endurance work at the weekends will be good for keeping the endurance up. Additionally the MAP work will help increase the aerobic ceiling so that other aerobic measures such as LT1, FTP or CP can be improved as well which will be beneficial for the longer duration events.
If you want some further info you can book a call with a coach and we can also do customised training plans on request if you require a more personalised plan on SYSTM (they’re no longer on the website but we can offer this service to those interested)


What a coincidence. Thanks for the info. I’ve usually done a lot of outside miles, supported by Sufferfest videos, before going out to Oudenaarde. However this year I’ll struggle to put the quantity of base miles in. There’s something quite masochistically addictive about the cobbles, but this time will be my last taking part. I’ll still be going over to watch the pros in years to come as it’s become a bit of a ritual for the group I’m in. There’s nothing like the RvV!

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Thanks Andy. I’ll look out for the MAP workouts. I’m not sure AC would be suitable for my style of riding (I’m a bit of a diesel and my 4DP shows me as a rouleur) Thanks as well for the link to call a coach.

Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out. We’re looking to do King Arthurs Way this summer so this sounds interesting for that as well.

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I’m doing Flanders this year too and was wondering if the Criterium plan might be a good fit?

I know it doesn’t have any long rides in it, but if you get your base miles in outside already would the more explosive focus of the workouts benefit the short, sharp climbs of Flanders? :thinking:

I did the Mountain Fondo plan for it last year (which seemed to work well) and was about to go for the 200mi Gravel plan, but I wondered if the had enough MAP work in it?

Would be good if there was a ‘Classics’ plan…

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A plan that focuses on repeated efforts or MAP while including some endurance at the weekends would work nicely for Flanders as the climbs are generally within the MAP range and you need to be able to recover to do multiple hard efforts throughout the ride


I would do a lot of endurance and MAP training. In March I would combine this and do a 150km, 175km and a 200km ride with some 15 MAP intervals. Also it is good to train, if possible, a couple of times in cold and or wet conditions, because… Flanders weather.

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Thanks @Coach.Andy.T - that’s kind of what I was thinking.

Do you know which plan would be the best fit for that, or would it be a case of building a custom plan - for example, a MAP block followed by an FTP block, with endurance built in on the weekends?

My rider profile is Attacker with Repeated efforts a strength and VO2 max a weakness, so I know I need to work on my MAP. It’s gonna be a painful few months… :melting_face:


Ha ha, yeah - I live in Yorkshire, so I’m pretty used to unpleasant weather! :rofl:

What date is the event? It could be that a couple of different 12 week plan before hand could be the way to go, or as you’ve suggested mixing some building blocks. If this is something you wanted to discuss in more detail you can book a call with one of our coaches to go through any questions about training plans or nutrition/pacing advice

@Coach.Andy.T My event is April 1st, so probably just enough time to squeeze 2 plans in back to back if I’m quick!

Thanks for the link - I’ll check that out too…

Today is two months until the RVV, so that makes it less than two months until the sportive. Eek!

An e-mail last week from the organisers had the long route as 249km / 2536m climbing. It was only 235km when we entered… I’ve done 257km / 2825m climbing on a ride before, though that was a long solo day out. Hopefully some time in a group will help.

A wintery blast in the UK has meant lots of turbo sessions (I don’t mind cold, but if there’s ice, I’m in the garage!) , so I’ve been using weekday sessions for high intensity sessions. I was time tight on Tuesday - AC: 2 Sets 5 x 30 was perfect for hard repeated efforts to simulate some 'bergs. Weekends have been 3 to 4 hour endurance efforts.

On a side note, we’re staying just on the edge of Brugge in Varsenare, so if anyone could recommend a bar in Brugge where we can watch the proper race on Sunday, that would be great. English commentary would be a bonus!


So how did it go? It must have been a tough day today, especially in the cobbles. The rain didn’t let up. Hope you came back safe and enjoyed it.

I had an easy week last week tapering in. Monday night was the regular hour of yoga, Tuesday easy circuit training concentrating on mobility & stretching plus Emily’s Short Mix on Zwift during lunch. Wednesday was my now traditional pre-event tune-up… Joyride. I’m overdue a 4DP test and to be honest, I’m a little lower on MAP than my previous test, so the early intervals in Joyride can be hard to see through but some self encouragement saw me nail all the blocks this time. I think the short MAP efforts from both the sessions were spot on for mentally readying myself for the 'bergs - dig deep and don’t quit. As a note, my SUF rider profile is a Time Trialist, with my weakness being Repeated efforts.

There was some oddness in the climbing figures. The official page says 2536m of climbing, but once I imported the provided GPX into RideWIthGPS, that said 2068m of climbing.

Strava says we did 257km / 2248m which included a 6km spin to the centre of the Brugge from our Airbnb, getting back to the shuttle bus location once we’d finished in Oudenarde and 7km back to the apartment (having got lost a bit in the dark!).

Overall, it was undoubtedly the hardest ride and most epic I’ve ever done. It rained almost all day, though it was biblical rain / wind overnight Friday into Saturday so could have been even worse. Whilst being in a group would help, you’d just end up a face full of water and grit. The temperature averaged 7 deg C all day, so at least we didn’t have to worry about getting baked.

I am absolutely delighted to say I cleaned every climb. The Koppenberg was the toughest thing I’ve ever ridden on a road bike, it was so greasy. I think I was really close to losing traction on the steepest section but just managed to keep going. Thank you for the extra motivation to keep going from the few spectators who had braved the rain. I don’t speak Dutch but can understand “up up up”, plus the classic “allez allez allez” - a great adrenaline boost when you are fighting for every metre of forward progress. When I reached the top, I was punching the air like I’d won a sprint for a stage win.

My cadence was sub 40rpm on the steepest bit, even in 34x30!

The flat / downhill cobble sectors were brutal. I’ve never known so many parts of your body could vibrate so much. A few times through the day I was suffering and felt like I was pedalling squares but managed to get enough food onboard to pick things up again before it turned into a full on bonk.

Having managed to ride all of the Mur & Koppenberg, I was really fired up to go home with a full house of clean climbs, especially the Kwaremount and Paterberg. I rode the no-name tarmac / cobbled climb leaving the last feed station in Ronse really slowly - save the legs & lungs! It paid off, though the right turn straight onto the bottom of the Paterberg caught me out as I was still in the big ring. Possibly not my kindest set of gear changes there!

Our bikes were superb and deserved a beer of their own at the end. I was on my Cannondale Synapse disc with tubeless tyres (Hutchinson Fusion5 11Storm Performance in 28mm), my brother-in-law was on his rim braked Willier and had gone for tubed Gatorskins. We were both suffering from a lack of front brakes by the very end but not puncturing was a minor miracle (almost every couple of KM you would see somebody stopped changing a tube).

Once we’d descended from the Paterburg, I felt reasonably good on the flat run to the finish. Don’t get me wrong, I was very glad to see the finish line but I could enjoy the run in and reflect a little on the achievement.


Awesome to hear. Glad you got round in one piece and unpunctured. I was thinking back to this thread while driving through the pouring rain on the Brussels ring. Top marks and double kudos for getting round. Any Sufferlandrian honours available need awarding to you. And top skills to manage to ride every climb in the wet.