The coaching process
The riders have the highest margins of progress in the first three or four years. After that, the margins stabilize, the rider becomes more resilient and can handle heavier workloads. The coach then focuses on other specificities in order to continue to improve his rider and collaborates with other experts within the team (nutritionist, equipment expert, mental coach, data analyst).
The individualized follow-up is therefore very important to know an athlete and to identify the axes of progression over the years. It is necessary to be able to break the habits.
Thanks to AG2R CITROËN's U19 and U23 teams, from which Benoît Cosnefroy comes, the performance unit gains precious years thanks to a data history but also by building relationships at the beginning of a rider career.
Communication coach - rider
The quality of the relationship between the coach andrider has a direct impact on the preparation. The life of a rider professional cyclist is punctuated by constant travel between races and training sessions. Most of the time the communication is done at a distance.
Benoît and Nicolas have therefore set up rituals to exchange as much as possible. Debriefing after the races, exchanges after the sessions, a "weekly" every Monday morning.
The pair sometimes meet again during the race. Nicolas, in the earpiece as sports director, Benoît on the bike. An undeniable advantage when it comes to winning.
The state of mind of the preparation
The goal of any athlete participating in a sport is to be as mentally prepared as possible. This means having the right mindset to be able to succeed in their athletic goals.
For Nicolas Guillé, the success of an athlete's preparation goes beyond numbers and "watts". It is above all a human relationship that is established. There are things that can be felt but not measured. Details that allow the coach to push the rider to the limit.
Benoît Cosnefroy: "When Nicolas is there on certain specific sessions, he pushes me and allows me to go further. If I did this session alone at home, I might not go as far in the effort because we can simulate race situations."
As we approach the goal
The goal is approaching and the preparation is done. Hours in the saddle, exchanges and adjustments to get ready for the starting line. In these last moments, the trainer takes a back seat and lets the rider enter its bubble.
"I'm mainly focused on my preparation. I need to be sure that we have everything in place to be ready," says Benoit Cosnefroy. He continues: "Then it's the race. You can arrive at the top of your form, it is the race that will decide the result. I'm concentrating on a block of events rather than on one race in particular. The "Classics" are coming up, I'm ready, but if I don't get the result I want in the first race, it doesn't matter. There is a month of competition. You have to be on top of your game throughout this block and be able to seize the opportunities."
The work is done, the difference will be made on the road. We pin on the number. Let's start the race.