A French-Inspired Playlist For the Tour de France

Dru Ryan
by Dru Ryan
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A French-Inspired Playlist For the Tour de France

The world’s largest spectator sport, the Tour de France is underway. This three-week, 2,000-mile (3,300K) trek takes pro cyclists though vineyards, up massive mountains and across stunning land only found in that part of the world. It’s hard to believe they only get two days off.

Whether you ride indoors only or ride indoors to be stronger outdoors, this playlist is built to inspire.


Choose a couple of these songs to get your cadence above 80 RPMs and prepare your body for what lies ahead.


Intervals require the boldness to push beyond your limits — to complete, breathless exhaustion — and then trust your body to recover enough to push again. The tradeoff for collapsing effort into a small amount of time is intense effort.  

Former wearer of the yellow jersey, Fabian Cancellara earned the nickname Spartacus for his aggressive approach to cycling. “When I’m on the bike I’m a gladiator. I want to kill my opponents, physically and mentally. When you see that you can kill them, you have to do so,” he was famous for saying. While it may sound extreme, that’s how you want to approach each interval.

Music: “Tour de France,” Kraftwerk, German electronica
Workout: Tabata-eque 20-second sprint followed by 10 seconds of recovery
Music: “Bella Ciao,” El Profesor, French musician
Workout: The beat switches every 30 seconds starting at the 13-second mark. Change cadence, resistance or bike position while maintaining a consistent effort
Music: “Flames,” David Guetta, French DJ
Workout: Starting at the 30-second mark, do 3 sets of 20-second intervals with a 10-second recovery. Recover between each set for 40 seconds and repeat.


The next block introduces a focus on power. One of the more alluring aspects of cycling is the ability to compare effort (watts) on major climbs. The ability for casual cyclists to train with power (watts) allows for some interesting comparisons of climbing efforts. Attack each climb and see what you’re made of.

Music: “Magenta Riddim,” DJ Snake, French DJ
Workout: Use the subtle changes in the music (around every 9 seconds) to increase resistance across 2, 1-minute uphill efforts. Recovery 1:15–1:52, then 1-minute push until the end.
Music: “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” Daft Punk, French DJ
Workout: Add resistance in the saddle every 30 seconds until the 2-minute mark on this progressive climb. Then increase cadence in or out of saddle until the end of the song.
Music: “Sonotone,” MC Solaar, French rapper
Workout: Sprint on the chorus, recover on the verse — or vice versa. Don’t just pedal faster; pedal stronger.


Endurance asks how long can you hang on. Utilize cadence and power to extend your effort beyond 30 seconds. Effective breathing on the bike allows the body to exert effort over longer periods of time.

Music: “Romeo,” Yelle, French pop artist
Workout: Provides 1 minute of recovery followed by 2, 1-minute efforts. After the first minute effort, ending at the 2-minute mark, there’s a 30-second recovery and the second surge starts.
Music: “La vie en Rose,” Grace Jones
Workout: Active recovery out of saddle for at least 30 seconds, 40-second surge at 0:54–1:34. Then recover until 2:20 or 3:20. Choose two more surges at your desired duration.
Music: “Einmal um die Welt,” Cro, French musician
Workout: Starting at 15 seconds, conduct the following circuit: 15 seconds on/15 seconds off, 30 seconds on/15 seconds off and 45 seconds on. Riders can be challenged to beat their average watts on each set. Then repeat.
Music: “Le Tour de France en Diligence,” Hans Zimmer
Workout: 1-minute cooldown

Unlike the end of a Tour de France stage, a massage, chef-cooked meal and an air-conditioned supercoach might not be waiting at the end of your ride. Still, victory is yours.

About the Author

Dru Ryan
Dru Ryan
Dru teaches indoor cycling at Equinox in Washington, D.C. His History of Hip-Hop classes at George Mason University and brief deejay career in the Bronx are two big reasons why his playlists are unique. Ryan‘s cycling claim to fame is having the former road world champion, Peter Sagan, comment on an Instagram photo. Follow Dru (drucyles) on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.


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