By the numbers: What it took to be competitive in the men’s Worlds road race

Oct 17, 2017

Bergen, Norway played host to the 2017 Road World Championships last week in a carnival that culminated with Sunday’s elite men’s road race. The race concluded with 12 laps of a 19.1km closing circuit around Bergen; a circuit that was defined by the ascent of Salmon Hill (1.5km at 6.4%).

In the following article, former pro and Dig Deep Coaching co-founder Stephen Gallagher crunches the numbers to see what it took to be competitive in this year’s elite men’s road race at the world championships.



With a long day in the saddle ahead, many of the strongest nations were content to see a break of 10 get away early. One rider that was part of this early move was America’s Alexey Vermeulen. Many of Vermeulen’s peak power efforts were produced in the opening kilometres as he jumped into the move and rode hard to help the break gain an advantage over the peloton.

Vermeulen’s peak one-minute power was in the first kilometre of racing where he hit 509W (8.38 W/kg) to jump into the break. The full acceleration lasted 1:33 at 464W (7.58 W/kg). The break’s pace remained high and they opened their maximum gap of 10 minutes in the first 20km.

South African Willie Smit, also part of the move, covered the first 20km in 27:54 at 306W. This is a stark contrast to the riders in the peloton — for example, Kazahkztan’s team captain Alexey Lutsenko rode at just 138W for nearly 37 minutes, to cover the same distance.


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