Video post: Power outputs and the the magic number in the Tour de France
Below is a short video (9:42) where I talk you through the power outputs that are required of the world's best cyclists when the roads turn upwards in the Pyrenees and Alps. That happens next Thursday, of course, and that's where the analysis we do will get really interesting.
However, the question is: What does a Tour contender need to be able to sustain for 10 minutes, 20 minutes and almost an hour in order to remain competitive and to challenge for yellow?
Some of you may have read in Armstrong's book that he and Ferrari had a target of 6.7 W/kg as a 'threshold power output' that would be needed to win mountain top finishes on climbs that can, in some cases, last close to an hour.
The video below explores what the real "magic number" for a Tour winner might be (if you are receiving this in an email and cannot view the video, click here to be directed to the site to watch)
Of course, in an ideal world, we won't have to extrapolate to the race and stage winners. I've said before that SRM data for all should be tracked. However, I'm satisfied that the combination of other methods and extrapolating using the likes of Horner and Sorensen's data gives us a great indication of what is happening at the front of the peloton. And the magic number, in terms of what the best riders are producing on climbs 30 minutes or longer is around 6 W/kg.
The Tour analysis continues
As the race unfolds, we'll see where the roads of France and the racing take us. I'm sure that there will be some great data (there always is) and we'll do what we can to bring you some insights (if Contador or Schleck blast up a climb at 7W/kg, we'll explain what it means!)
The above video is a pretty broad overview, an introduction of sorts, and so tomorrow I'll continue the analysis by doing a more in-depth analysis and add to this some descriptions of sprint power, flat stages compared to mountains and heart rate data from the Tour.
In the meantime, some follow up reading:
- The 2010 equivalent of the video above, if you want to digest the graphs a little more slowly
- SRM website - they even do live coverage of the Tour, which can be pretty interesting. A good resource after stages