Dutchman goes full gas for the more than two hours of racing
If Niki Terpstra’s solo victory in E3 Harelbeke didn’t look impressive enough on TV, then the numbers that the Dutch rider uploaded to Strava show the incredible effort needed to take such a spectacular win.
A regular Strava user for both races and training rides, unfortunately Terpstra hasn’t included his heart rate or power data in his online activity – perhaps wanting to keep his cards close to his chest ahead of bigger races at the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix in the coming weeks – but some of the other data still offers great insight into a brilliant victory.
After the race had been split by a large crash with around 110km to go, Terpstra attacked with team-mate Yves Lampaert over the top of the Taaienberg in what would be a race-defining move.
However despite this attack, Terpstra’s time of 1-25 up the 600m climb actually wasn’t his fastest effort up the climb, having ascended seven seconds faster in the 2016 edition of E3 Harelbeke.
Over the top of the climb, Terpstra and Lampaert worked hard to consolidate their advantage, averaging 50kmh over the next 5.6km to the base of the next climb of the Boigneberg.
The Quick-Step Floors duo worked well together over the next 30km, before the cracks began to show on the Paterberg which Strava shows that Terpstra covered four seconds faster than Lampaert (who is on Strava under the moniker “John Deere”), opening up a few seconds despite climbing the short, sharp climb a few seconds slower than in the 2016 race.
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It was a similar story on the Karnemelkbeekstraat, an eight per cent climb which Terpstra climbed at an average of nearly 20kmh, before Lampaert was finally dropped on the cobbled sector of the Varentstraat with 23.5km remaining.
And from the look of Strava, it’s easy to see why Lampaert may have struggled to hold Terpstra’s wheel over the pavé, with the Dutchman averaging 37.6kmh over the 2.3km sector including hitting more than 50kmh at one point – all of this coming after 183km of full-on racing.
Alone from thereon in, Terpstra continued to keep the pressure on, averaging an incredible 46.5kmh over the final 19km from the top of the final climb of the Tiegemberg to the finish in Harelbeke.
Stats from the group behind show how impressive this effort was, with Oliver Naesen’s Strava activity showing a slightly lower average speed of 45.3kmh over the same period of racing as the attacks flew behind.
Overall, Terpstra averaged more than 40kmh for the 206km race, including an impressive top speed of more than 80kmh – not bad on the narrow roads of Flanders.
The only disappointment for Terpstra will be that he only picked up three Strava KOMs on his incredible ride, but somehow we don’t think he’ll be too bothered by that…