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A long winter road...

The Complete Athlete rider Charlie Tanfield describes the start of his 2024 campaign for Paris Olympic Games



Charlie Tanfield, former UCI team pursuit World Champion, joined The Complete Athlete at the end of the 2023 season. Having previously worked with Laurence for a number of years in the build up to Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, now has his sights firmly set on Paris 2024.


A long Winter Road...


Unlike road riders, competitions for track riders are relatively sparse, especially with pursuit events including the individual and team. This means that Charlie has had a good period of training to really set himself up well for the 2024 season, typically longer than a road rider would, getting back on the bike from the start of September


"My approach has shifted this year due to my racing"

Physical demands of Charlie's events, the team and individual pursuit, have changed a fair bit over the years due to technological improvements, knowledge around aerodynamics and the speed of the event. This means you have to constantly adapt to ensure you are working on the things that matter. Although short and maximal, at around 4:08 and 3:45 for the individual and team pursuit events respectively, Charlie says that both are underpinned by the aerobic energy system.


"I've sat down with Laurence a few times this Winter to discuss our strategy for this Winter, and we are both clear on one key thing...my events are highly aerobic!"


"Therefore, this Winter I've upped by hours while breaking it up in to threshold blocks, leading in to a more aerobic capacity focussed lead up to the European Champs."


A key aim for Charlie to achieve has been frequency, and consistency. At The Complete Athlete we focus on the fundamentals first; building the ability to train more frequently, leading to more consistent training over time. But, it's important to not forget about other key aspects required for performance...


"We've still been dropping in start/ strength sessions to keep the technique and strength up too, and spending as many hours as possible riding my TT bike."


So, although Charlie has focussed on aerobic conditioning, at The Complete Athlete we aim to add to what you already have, not replace (referencing the great athletics coach Renata Canova), hence ensuring that other requirements, such as strength, speed, position, aren't lost in doing so. Charlie goes on to say...


"No golden eggs or golden bullets, just sticking to the classic aerobic fundamentals and putting the work in"


The road to Paris starts in Apeldoorn...


Charlie has his sights firmly set on Paris, and his first event to get there is the UEC European Championships, held in Apeldoorn, the Netherlands where Charlie is aiming to race in the team and individual pursuit events.


"I've set out some lofty goals that would be amazing if I'm able to achieve even some of them"

Charlie has some high hopes, but although he is excited about this, says that a key aim is to just enjoy the experience. A reminder for athlete, of any standard, to first and foremost enjoy the journey and enjoy riding your bike! You never know what's going to happen on race day, and there's many things that are simply out of your control. So, enjoying what you are doing, and having a good range of targets and aims is essential.


Charlie is aiming for success at a series of international events, including Nations Cups, Road World Championships and the Olympic Games, as well as some fun challenges too, such as National TT champs and CTT TTs too.


"I do have some fun Challenges too; Road Bike TT Nat record I'd like to have a go at then maybe The Team Relay at the World Champs too. National TT champs is course course-dependent then finally some CTT TTs are always a good day out."


Charlie, part of the Great Britain Cycling Team squad for the UEC European Championships, kicks off his 2024 campaign from 10th January. We wish Charlie, and the rest of the team the best for the championships!

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