Speed, heart rate, and power data show the effort needed for the final kilometres of stage three

The opening stages of the 2017 Giro d’Italia may not have exactly been action-packed, but the final 10km of stage three provided the sort of echelons that many Classics would be proud of, with Strava providing an insight into the sort of effort needed to create such exciting racing.

The racing really kicked off with 10.5km to go, when Quick-Step Floors went to the front as crosswinds swept across the road.

>>> Fernando Gaviria battles through crosswinds to take Giro d’Italia stage three and pink jersey

Bob Jungels was the rider who really made the difference, with the Strava numbers of Iljo Keisse and Laurens De Plus (which have unfortunately been stripped of their power data) showing the Luxembourgish champion ramping the speed up beyond 50kmh.

Quick-Step continued to work hard to extend the gap, hitting almost 70kmh at one point when the road briefly swung southwards giving them a cross/tailwind.

An idea of the effort required in the chase can be seen in the power numbers of Phil Bauhaus, the Bora-Hansgrohe sprinter who would finish 11th on the stage.

>>> Five talking points from stage three of the Giro d’Italia

Despite not being at the forefront of the chase, Bauhaus still averaged nearly 400 watts for the final 13 minutes of the race, including one effort of more than 1,000 watts (presumably when closing a gap) with six kilometres remaining. His heart rate over this period was also very high, averaging 187bpm.

And at the end of that Bauhaus had to produce a finishing sprint, knocking out a peak power of 1,572 watts in the final 200m as his heart rate hit a pretty astonishing 207bpm shortly after crossing the line.


Watch: Giro d’Italia 2017 stage three highlights


It was a similar story for those domestiques trying to usher their GC hopefuls safely through the stage.

FDJ’s Tobias Ludvigsson was one such rider, with Ludvigsson trying to keep Thibaut Pinot out of trouble, averaging more 408 watts for the last 20km of the stage.

What’s more impressive about this figure is that Ludvigsson’s power data shows many big surges of power, followed by an easing off, putting a much bigger strain on his body than if he’d ridden at a steady 408 watts all the way.

The Swede puts in surges of more than 800 watts eight times in the final 20km, including a full minute averaging more than 600 watts just as Jungels split the peloton.

Put all that at the end of 148km and four hours of riding and it shows just how tough making the selection in Grand Tours can be.