How to win a road race
It takes a lot to win a road race. It’s often been said that you don’t need to be the strongest to win a race but being able to produce the numbers when it counts is still a fundamental requirement. This issue, we look at what it takes to win a race at the very top level of our sport.
A recent study of the top five riders in a number of races ending in a bunch sprint shows peak powers of over 1,200 watts, an average (for 13 seconds, the average duration of a sprint finish) of over 1,000W, and an average top speed of 66kph. If these numbers look a bit out of reach, let’s make it relative. The average weight of the group was 72kg which equates to 18W/kg in the sprint.
So that’s the sprint but what if you are not gifted with Greipel’s calves, Cavendish’s kick, or Kittel’s immaculate hair? Let’s take Nibali’s win in Sheffield this year – the two-minute effort that won him the stage. With an average power of 495 W [7.6 W/kg] it sounds almost doable, considering the top GC riders will be averaging around 6 W/kg for 30 minutes or so in the mountains. But his effort is a lot more impressive once you know that he produced two 900W+ efforts in succession to make the break, and all this after a very tough 200km stage through Yorkshire!
So if you want to win and step up, these are the numbers to target: • 6W/kg for a 30-min climb • 15W/kg for a late attack • 18W/kg to win a bunch sprint Bear in mind that these numbers are produced after 200km of racing – you have to add 10-15 per cent to see what they can do fresh! At TrainSharp we can help you work towards such targets using personalised training plans and track progress with power analysis.