No KOMs, but we don't think he'll mind
Niki Terpstra’s attack from 27km out to win the Tour of Flanders may not have been quite as spectacular as Philippe Gilbert’s 55km solo move from 2017, but it was still a great victory which is now preserved on Strava for all to see.
Unfortunately Terpstra’s Strava activity, which he has given the straightforward and understated title “De Ronde Van Vlaanderen”, doesn’t include either his heart rate or power data, but still gives an insight into a brutal race.
The headline stats and numbers tell the story of the race, with the opening couple of hours on flat roads as the peloton made its way south-west from Antwerp being run at a pretty steady speed of slightly over 40kmh for the first three hours before the first climb of the Oude Kwaremont.
From thereon in, Terpstra’s speed graph reflected the race profile with the constant hills and descents mirrored in the peaks and troughs of the Dutchman’s speed.
Terpstra reached his highest speed of the race, 79.9kmh, on the descent of the Berendries with 109km remaining, before an absolutely rapid approach to the Muur van Geraardsbergen as the riders jostled for position and averaged 56.5kmh for the 5.6km prior to the climb.
Watch: Tour of Flanders 2018 highlights
However Terpstra bided his time before making the decisive move shortly after the top of the Kruisberg, which the group climbed at a fast pace coming close to the KOM.
Terpstra made his attack through a left-hand turn at the top of the climb, quickly accelerating up to 53kmh to bridge across to Vincenzo Nibali, before keeping the pressure on and keeping his speed at around 32kmh as the road rose up to 10 per cent to ride the Italian off his wheel.
The effect of more than 200km of racing is shown in Terpstra’s times up the final two climbs of the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg where his relatively slow times reflect the state of his legs
Terpstra climbed the Oude Kwaremont in 3-31, nearly 15 seconds slower than his KOM effort from E3 Harelbeke in 2016, and ascended the Paterberg in 1-22, a couple of seconds slower than earlier in the race and more than half a minute off the KOM. However the time was still pretty good for the day, with only a handful of riders ascending the final climb faster than Terpstra in the race itself.
Those of us watching on TV could see that the race already appeared to be won, but Terpstra took no risks on the final few kilometres to the finish in Oudenaarde, maintaining the pressure and holding an average speed of more than 46kmh for the flat final 7.5km towards the finish.
If this average speed wasn’t impressive enough in itself, then bear in mind that this was completed after 260km of racing, with Terpstra only completing the final few kilometres a couple of seconds slower than Greg Van Avermaet and Wout Van Aert riding in a decent-sized chasing group behind.