Intervals w/ standard recovery vs dispersed throughout long distance ride

I have traditionally been doing intervals @ Vo2 & above during a 1.5 hour workout and adding a second 1-1.5 hr endurance ride later in the day. I had heard this on a previous podcast (can not remember which one) and feel like I perform better in both rides.
My questions would be: is there value to doing a long ride with vo2 (or higher) intervals dispersed throughout the ride? I’m thinking about a long ride with several 3-6 minute climbs spread out over 2.5 hours. If I did those climbs @ close to vo2 max, with 10-20m zone 2 riding in between, would that elicit the same response as a traditional Vo2 workout such as a 5 x 5 w/ 5 mins rest?
I guess what I’m getting at is does the recovery duration matter or is it more about time accumulated at close to Vo2 max? If I can accumulate the same, or more, time at vo2, wouldn’t this be a better workout or am I thinking about this wrong?
Other than race specificity, will this workout be as beneficial as a traditional Vo2 workout or should I stick to what has been proven to work?

It depends on what you are after and what then end progression in perforamnce you want. I include both in rides that I create for athletes. Doing VO2 or any intervals for that matter within a bigger volume ride is always acceptable. When I am after pure power and want quality I put the intervals at the fornt or towards the front of the ride, when I want fatigue resisatcne and to build mental fortitude I place at the end of the ride. One vital intensty I focus on frequenlty is threshold within longer endurance rides, this is a greeat way to offer some “maintenance” at FTP intensity and they do not have to be super long 15+M intervals. I will place 4-6M intervals at then end of 3hr endurance ride or place them in the middle to induce fatigue and then finish strong within the endurance zone. One last suggestion is doing a really fun endurnce farrtlek ride where you randomly do efforts totally on feel- duration and intensity (power) is slef selected and VERY random. Literally 1M here, 30sec there, 5m there, 10 sec max here etc. Mix it up. This can also be done as a strategy for TIZ (time in zone) so if VO2 is what you are after mix and macth the durations within VO2 zone. Hope this helps and happy training!

I’ve looked for clarity on this, but bottom line: am I messing up a Z2 ride if I do intervals in it or not, or am I messing up intervals? E.g., if I head out for four hours, and spend 30-40mins at higher intensity/thresholds/VO2 in the middle somewhere, am I still getting the benefits of a 3hr Z2 ride, or have I messed that up? I think it might have been Couzens or Seiler who noted that you touch all zones in a ride, but you only manhandle one. And I thought that was based on different ways your body reacts to those different workouts and that mixing them reduces the efficiency of adaptation? I don’t know the science, but that’s what this forum and the Pod has led me to believe.