Hot Seat: Interview with Astana Pro Michael Valgren – Part 1

Join us as we sit down with the riders, trainers and more behind some of cycling’s greatest teams. Astana pro cyclist Michael Valgren talks about his favorite devices and training secrets in this interview.

E3 Harelbeke 2017 – 60th Edition – Harelbeke – Harelbeke 206,1 km – 24/03/2017 – Michael Valgren (DEN – Astana Pro Team) – photo Dion Kerckhoffs/CV/BettiniPhoto©2017


What Garmin devices are you using to train and compete?

I am a bit between Garmin 520 and 820, but right now I am using the last one, 820. But, actually, I want to switch to Garmin 1000, where the screen is bigger, it is nice also in the races, there were more details.

What features do you appreciate having the most?

For me, when I have a lot of stats on the screen, it is really important. You can see everything you want in the same time and this is cool. Besides, it is important to have an easy connection to Garmin Connect, that’s great that all devices talk to each other. So, if in one day you forget your 820, you still can use your 520 and this will be the same.

 What features do you use the most? 

The most important thing for me is the watts. In the race I am doing mostly by feelings and not but any other numbers. But in training the watts are the base for me. Also, I am using the map for putting the data in GXP file.

How important is heart rate training to the team?

Normally I am not using too much the heart rates. So, sometimes it is useful, of course, but for me is better to count on watts.

What does an average training session look like, in the off-season and during the season?

In the off season I just do some normal ride, without great effort, just some basic work. In the season you starts to do some effort work depending of the races you are preparing for. I have a lot of stats in my Garmin I can use for a good training, I can do my training efforts basing on watts, with the intervals and so on.

What does your nutrition look like and how do that play a role in your performance?

I just try to eat healthy. I know what is healthy and what is not. Before the race I eat some pasta or rice and some lean meats. You know, now it is quite easy to manage with it since we have a chef in the team, who is taking care of our nutrition during the races. Also, in the race we have Named products, gels, bars, etc, which provide us with all we need. But in general, I am not using any special diet, just try to follow the right nutrition.

What races are you looking forward to competing in the most and why?

Actually, I like the stage races, but also I like some classics races, for example this Ardennes week. I like the atmosphere here and I really like Amstel Gold Race and Liege – Bastogne – Liege. These races are very nice. The stage races are nice too, for example, the Cruterium du Dauphine or Tour de Suisse, or my home race Tour of Denmark. These are the races I can do something nice, to get some good result. For example the three-week Grand Tour is quite hard and too long for me.

How do you recover after competing?

I like to go out the day after with my friends or even alone to clean my mind a bit. Now I am living in Monaco and very often I go out even before the breakfast for something an hour, I take a coffee in a café, enjoying the weather and relax. Also, my girlfriend really likes to walk, while I don’t like it but anyway I have to do it with her.

How does Connect data impact your training and competing? Or What stats are most important to you? 

I use it all actually, I like to get all stats together and to analyze my training, to see, if I did a good training, where I am at the moment, I mean the watts, the averages, sometimes I use the heart rates also…

 What is your favorite part about cycling?

It is a combination, actually, because I really enjoy riding my bike while training. I just like to be out on the nature and to feel free…

What is your favorite part of competition?

I really love the races. In the races I like the intensity of the competitions, the fighting, but mostly, when I have legs, of course. Because when you have bad legs, it is really hard and sometimes you wish you were playing, for example, handball or whatever… So, I like the feeling I am good, I am ready for something big, that I can ride in any conditions. For me it is a passion of being alone, you are the boss for yourself and everything or almost everything depends on you – to be serious, to be professional, to sleep, to eat right, to train hard… And if you do it you will get a result, if no, it would be your fault. So everything is up to you and I like this feeling.

Photos are by Bettiniphoto.