Improve Your Triathlon Cycling

Triathlon cycling
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There's a lot to think about when training for a triathlon. Champion triathlete Will Clarke has some advice for training and cycling form tips that will help you cycle your best ever bike leg.

Once you've sorted your cycling, it's time to improve your triathlon swimming and have a look at our race-winning triathlon running tips

Thinking of signing up for a triathlon? Check out the UK's best triathlons and follow one of our triathlon training plans.

Train hard

"In total I do about 30 hours of training per week," says Clarke. "In the hard weeks I try and hit 14 to 16 hours of cycling. I have a block of two hard weeks and then an easier week."

Do intervals

"We do it on the bike, especially leading into races," says Clarke. "When I was training for the [2006] world champs, I found a training route that was similar to the two hard hills on the course. I went hard up the hills and recovered on the flat. When it came to the race, I felt better than everyone else and got away on the bike."

Build cycling endurance

"The best way to do this is by going out for long rides," says Clarke. "They need to be hard enough that you're tired when you get to the end."

Do shorter training sessions in the week before a race

"Cut down on miles and throw in some intensity," says Clarke. "You can’t get any fitter the week before a race. You can only get more tired. I might do three three-minute bike intervals three days before a race."

Speed up your transitions

"Clip your bike shoes onto your pedals before the race so you can slip straight into them when you get to the cycle stage," says Clarke. "At the other end, practise getting off your bike while it’s still moving."

No straight-armed biking

"Make sure you’re not reaching too far with your arms," says Clarke. "If you ride with straight arms you’ll start rocking, which is inefficient."

Go wide into corners

"Go in wide, cut in at the shortest line and come out wide," says Clarke. "That way you can maintain your speed. Lift up your inside knee and put your weight on your inside handlebar. Brake before rather than in the corner to avoid crashing."

Go hard at hills

"Some people like to sit, others like to stand," says Clarke. "It depends on the athlete but it's best to keep as high a cadence as possible. It's important to really bend your elbows and transfer all your weight to your legs so you don’t bob around."

Save some juice for the run

"Don’t cycle too hard in the last 5K because you’ll be absolutely dead," says Clarke. "Shake out your legs and stretch while on the bike."

Will Clarke

Age: 24 
From: Cambridge
Achievements: 2006 Winner, World and European Under-23 Triathlon Championships. 2006 2nd, Royal Windsor Triathlon.

Will Clarke's cycling form tips

Bend your knees…


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"Stand up straight and bend your knees just enough to unlock them – that’s the bend you need in the lowest part of the revolution," says Clarke. "If you’re cycling with straight legs you can’t generate as much power."

…and your arms


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"Bend your elbow to transfer all your weight into your legs," says Clarke. "You’re locking out the upper body so your effort is all from the legs. Your arms should be extended slightly beyond 90° but not locked out."

Use your heels


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"Your heel should drive your feet during each pedal stroke," says Clarke. "It’s the most efficient way of exerting power. You can develop that by riding using only one leg."

Get comfortable


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"Flatten your back and try to be as aerodynamic as possible," says Clarke. "But don’t sacrifice comfort because it will make for a hellish race."

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Nick Hutchings worked for Men’s Fitness UK, which predated, and then shared a website with, Coach. Nick worked as digital editor from 2008 to 2011, head of content until 2014, and finally editor-in-chief until 2015.